Anxiety Among Students: Causes, Effects + How Parents Can Help


In Singapore, anxiety among students is a big problem. Many students feel immense pressure to succeed academically, which can lead to anxiety.

Once they reach upper secondary school, the anxiety only ramps up. They must cope with heavier workloads, tougher exams, and the looming pressure of university applications.

For some students, this anxiety is so severe that it interferes with their daily lives and academic performance. If your child is struggling with anxiety, you need to understand the causes and effects of anxiety and what you can do (including enrolling them in physics tuition Singapore if necessary)  to help your child cope.

What are the causes of anxiety among students?

Academic pressure

Students feel a lot of pressure to succeed academically. This pressure can come from many sources, including parents, teachers, and society at large.

In Singapore, there is a strong emphasis on academic achievement, and many students feel that they have to live up to these high expectations.

One of the biggest academic pressures students face is their O-level and A-level exams. These exams are crucial for getting into a good university, so the pressure to do well is very high. Check out How To Prepare for O Level Exams in 5 Steps for more. 


The competition for places in top schools is also a source of anxiety for many students. In Singapore, more students are applying to universities than there are places available.

This means that the competition in exams like the O-levels is very fierce, and many students feel like they have to be perfect to get into their dream school.

In fact, competition anxiety is one of the main reasons why students seek out private tutors or tuition centers. Check out 6 Foolproof Ways to Ace GCE O-Level Physics Exams for more on this topic. 

Family/Financial problems

It’s not just academic pressure that can lead to anxiety among students. Some students also face family or financial problems that add to their stress levels.

For example, some students come from low-income families and feel a lot of pressure to do well in school to get a good job, and support their families financially.

Other students come from broken homes or have parents who are constantly fighting. This can also add to their anxiety levels.

Peer pressure

Peer pressure is another major cause of anxiety among students. Many students feel like they have to fit in and be like their friends.

This can lead to anxiety about things like clothes, hairstyles, and grades. Some students even start using drugs or alcohol to cope with their anxiety.

Bullying is also a form of peer pressure that can lead to anxiety. Bullied students often feel isolated and alone, so it’s not surprising that anxiety is a major issue for them.

What are the effects of anxiety among students?

Anxiety can have several negative effects on students, both in the short-term and the long-term. Let’s take a look at some of the most common effects of anxiety:

Physical effects

Anxiety can have physical effects on students, like making them feel nauseous or giving them a headache. Some students also have trouble sleeping when they’re anxious and this can lead to fatigue during the day.

Anxiety can also make it difficult for students to concentrate and remember things. This is because anxiety activates the fight-or-flight response, which makes it difficult for the brain to focus on anything else.

Emotional effects

Anxiety can also have emotional effects on students. When students are anxious, they might feel irritable, sad, or angry.

They might also have a hard time controlling their emotions, and they may cry easily. Some students might even start to withdraw from their friends and family. It’s not uncommon for anxiety to lead to depression.

Cognitive effects

Anxiety can also affect students’ cognitive abilities. When students are anxious, they might have difficulty thinking clearly or making decisions.

They might also have trouble paying attention and retaining information. This is because anxiety interferes with the part of the brain that is responsible for these functions. The cognitive effects of anxiety can be very debilitating.

Behavioral effects

The behavioral effects of anxiety are often the most noticeable. When students are anxious, they might start to act out in class or they might have trouble paying attention.

They might also start to avoid situations that make them anxious, like social gatherings or tests. Some students might even start to self-harm as a way of coping with their anxiety.

What can you do to help your child handle anxiety from school?

Ask how things are at school:

The most crucial thing you can do as a parent is to ask your child how things are going at school. This will help you to identify any early warning signs that your child is starting to feel anxious.

Are they falling behind in their subjects? Do they seem to be having trouble making friends? Are they getting into arguments with you more often? These are all potential red flags that your child is struggling with anxiety.

If they’re having trouble with certain subjects like physics or math, consider enrolling them in an O-level or Sec 3 physics tuition center like Learning for Keeps to help them catch up. The key thing is to lighten their load as much as possible.

Make sure they’re getting enough sleep:

Sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Your child must get enough sleep, especially if they’re dealing with anxiety.

Anxious students often have trouble sleeping, so you might need to help them establish a bedtime routine. Make sure they’re not working or using electronic devices in bed and encourage them to relax before going to sleep.

You should also make sure that their bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. This will help them to get a good night’s sleep.

Encourage healthy eating habits:

School life can be hectic, so it’s important to make sure that your child is eating healthy meals. A nutritious diet will help to boost their energy levels and improve their mood.

Encourage them to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And make sure they’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

If you’re concerned that your child isn’t getting enough nutrients, you can talk to their doctor about whether they need a multivitamin.

Help them to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety:

It’s normal for students to feel stressed from time to time. The important thing is to help them find healthy ways to cope with their stress and anxiety.

Encourage them to exercise, meditate, or journal to help relieve their anxiety. You can also take them out on family outings or vacations to help them relax.

Help them to develop a support network:

Sometimes, a support network outside of the family can be very helpful for anxious students. This could include friends, teachers, or counselors.

Encourage your child to reach out to their support network when they’re feeling anxious. This will help them to feel less alone and more supported.

Seek professional help:

If you’re concerned that your child’s anxiety is severe, you can seek professional help. This could include therapy, medication, or both.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a mental health professional. They will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for your child.


Students today are under a lot of pressure to succeed. This can lead to anxiety, which can impact their studies and social life. As a parent, there are plenty of ways to help your child cope with anxiety.

These include enrolling them in tuition, encouraging healthy eating habits, and more. What matters most is that you provide support and understanding. If anxiety is severe, you can also seek professional help.

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