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A Quantitative Study Identifying the Prevalence of Anxiety in Dyslexic Students in Higher Education

Authors: Amanda Abbott-Jones


Adult students with dyslexia in higher education can receive support for their cognitive needs but may also experience negative emotion such as anxiety due to their dyslexia in connection with their studies. This paper aims to test the hypothesis that adult dyslexic learners have a higher prevalence of academic and social anxiety than their non-dyslexic peers. A quantitative approach was used to measure differences in academic and social anxiety between 102 students with a formal diagnosis of dyslexia compared to 72 students with no history of learning difficulties. Academic and social anxiety was measured in a questionnaire based on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Findings showed that dyslexic students showed statistically significant higher levels of academic, but not social anxiety in comparison to the non-dyslexic sample. Dyslexic students in higher education show academic anxiety levels that are well above what is shown by students without dyslexia. The implications of this for the dyslexia practitioner is that delivery of strategies to deal with anxiety should be seen equally as important, if not more so, than interventions to deal with cognitive difficulties.

Keywords: Academic, anxiety, dyslexia, quantitative, students, university.

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