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Difference in Academic Performance And Its Relation to Mental Health Of Students

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Today’s academic curriculum gives more importance to grades than to the mental healthof students. Students are constantly pressured into achieving high grades whereas the relationship between grades and mental health is never fully understood. I’m conductingthis literature review to understand the relationship between grades and mental health, and also to discover the gaps in the research. I will be using five different research papers and I will compare their methods and findings. Depression affects a person’s mood which in turn affects the way a person thinks, feels and reacts. A person with depression will have difficulty concentrating and remembering information. A student with depressive disorder will be at a higher risk of dropping out of school or having to repeat a year. All the studies in this review have common findings regarding the diagnosis of depression among adolescents and adults. Studies observedprevalence of depressive disorders in 4-5% of adolescents, 13% undergraduate and 16% graduate students. The studies used variety of approaches for screening of depression such as

  1. Asking questions about frequency of different feelings or behaviors(Wyatt, 2013)
  2. We use the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a nine-item screening instrument based on the nine DSM-IV criteria for a major depressive episode (Eisenberg, 2009)
  3. 19-item revision of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (Schulte-Körne, 2016)
  4. Using parents and teachers’ ratings (macleod, 2009) 5. ) strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) (Suldo,2013).

All the studies found the relationship between depression and low GPA among high school students. , and half-letter decrease in grade among undergraduates. The further question raised by these research studies is the GPA of girls alone, since twice as manygirls are affected with depression than boys. Attention is defined as “the act of applying the mind to something(M. W. , 2018). ” Lack of attention can be caused by a condition known as ‘Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ’ Therefore, the learning capabilities of an individual are hindered due to their inability to focus. All the studies used a similar approach for screening students for ADHD i. e. engagement in ADHD related behaviors in which hyperactivity can be a factoror not.

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However, the studies had different forms of findings. One of the five studies didn’taddress the impact of ADHD on gpa (Wyatt, 2013). Two studies had similar findings i. e ADHD has a negative impact on gpa among high school students (Mackleod, 2012) (Eisenberg, 2009). One study found that ADHD can cause impairments with reading, arithmetic skills and spelling (Schulte-Körne, 2016). One study found out that treatment of ADHD using social-emotional learning programs lead to improvement in reading and math skills (Suldo, 2013). The research seems to be incomplete because only one studycould find a successful relationship between ADHD and GPA. Anxiety is feelings of fear to future events. It is body’s natural response to stress. American psychological association found that today’s college students have same anxiety levels as 1950’s mental asylum patients. A common anxiety disorder is marked by inability to control excessive worrying. At lower levels, anxiety can be productive but at higher levels it can affect productivity. The studies had different ways of diagnosing anxiety

  1. Use of patient-health questionnaire screens for generalized anxiety disorder
  2. Strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) along with parents’ ratings
  3. American College Health Association-National CollegeHealth Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) II data set
  4. One study relied solely on teachers’ to nominate students for symptoms of anxiety.

One study failed to conduct anxiety specific assessment (Macleod, 2012). All the studies had a common finding that anxiety does have a negative impact on the academics. One study found that anxiety affects twice asmany undergraduate students(17. 5%) than graduate students(9%). One study did not find anything in regards to anxiety and academic performance. The topic of anxiety raises several questions as all the studies failed to address “why the students have anxiety? ”The studies were successful in highlighting the impact of mental health on academics. Depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can negatively impact a students’ GPA. The impact was larger among undergraduate students than high school students.

There was one major finding that all the studies failed to examine i. e. the interference of GPA and mental health. studies should check for mental health’s dependence on GPA and vice versa. Also, depression, anxiety and ADHD can have varying impacts since college/university curriculum is more difficult than high-school but the studies failed to look at the increase/decrease in number/magnitude of mental disorders, after one drops out of high school, progresses from high school into college drops out from college.


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