The Effect of Anxiety and Depression on College Students’ Academic Performance: Exploring Social Support as a Moderator
Abilene Campus (Residential)
Date of Award
Master of Science
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
The purpose of this study is to explore how social support is related to the overall well-being of college students. Literature suggests social support buffers a negative effect of distress on academic performance. This study attempts to provide practical information for a program called Student Opportunities, Advocacy, and Resources (SOAR) at Abilene Christian University (ACU), which assists students and connects them to resources available to support their path to success. A multiple linear regression was conducted to examine the association between anxiety, depression, social support, and academic performance using a sample of 93 students enrolled in this program in Fall of 2016. Some findings were not congruent with the literature. Although social support had a significant moderating effect, it did not necessarily buffer the negative influence of depression on academic performance. Surprisingly, among the group who reported having low social support, depression had a positive relationship with academic performance. After eliminating an insignificant moderating effect of social support on the relationship between anxiety and academic performance, the total effect of anxiety on academic performance was not significant. The findings show gender was the strongest predictor; females performed higher than males. Past academic performance had a positive effect on current academic performance. The implication of the findings is not to disregard mental health issues; rather, it is possible that these students are more difficult to reach due to less visible symptoms and/or succeeding academically. Knowing that this population could be silently suffering makes it imperative for college campuses to implement programs such as SOAR that reaches out to students who may not seek support or show signs that they are experiencing difficulties due to various stressors during this developmental transition. Considering limitations of this study, further investigation is needed to validate these findings
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Bisson, Katherine H., "The Effect of Anxiety and Depression on College Students’ Academic Performance: Exploring Social Support as a Moderator" (2017). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 51.
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