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Psychology of anxiety in children and adolescents

Author: Racu Iulia
Degree:doctor habilitat of psychology
Speciality: 19.00.07 - Pedagogical Psychology, Psychology of Development, Psychology of Personality
Institution: Chisinau Pedagogical State University "Ion Creanga"


The thesis was presented on the 6 November, 2020
Approved by NCAA on the 26 February, 2021


Adobe PDF document1.11 Mb / in romanian
Adobe PDF document1.07 Mb / in english


CZU 159.942.5-053.4/.6(043.3)

Adobe PDF document 5.39 Mb / in romanian
351 pages


anxiety, types of anxiety, school anxiety/academic anxiety, family, family climate, self -appreciation, self-confidence, personality traits, preschool age, junior school age, preadolescent age and adolescent age


Thesis structure. The thesis comprises the annotations, the list of abbreviations, an introduction , seven chapters, general conclusions and recommendations, a bibliography of 276 titles, annexes, and consists of 256 pages, including 84 figures and 57 tables. The obtained results are published in 74 scientific works.

The purpose of the research: theoretical and experimental grounding of the phenomenon of anxiety at different age levels in the context of new social realities, as well as the configuration of a new psychological intervention model oriented to anxiety reduction in preschoolers through the prism of implications on its conditioning factors with the possibility of its extension to other ages as well. Research objectives: analysis and study of specialized literature regarding anxiety, the methods and instruments of anxiety and its correlates diagnosis, and the techniques, procedures and ways of anxiety reduction; underlining gender and age differences in anxiety manifestation and anxiety types in children and adolescents; establishing gender and age features in manifesting school/academic anxiety and school anxiety factors at junior students, preadolescents and adolescents; identification of psycho-social factors (family composition and climate) and of the individual ones (self-assessment, self-confidence, social courage, initiation of social contacts) determining anxiety at preschool, early school, preadolescence and adolescence periods; identification of personality traits typical to junior schoolchildren, preadolescents and adolescents with distinct levels of anxiety; elaboration, implementation and evaluation of the psychological intervention program effectiveness regarding anxiety reduction in preschoolers; elaboration of the scientific concept regarding the development of anxiety in children and adolescents in the context of new social realities.

Novelty and originality: of research results consists in: theoretical and experimental grounding of the anxiety phenomenon at different age levels in the context of new social realities based on the investigation of gender and age differences in anxiety manifestation (school anxiety/academic anxiety), of psychosocial and individual factors determining it and of personality traits of the anxious child and adolescent; building a definition with integratory character of the concept of anxiety deduced from the analysis of existing approaches and explanations aimed at realizing a reconsidering of all the definitions; establishing the specific character of anxiety, re-dimensioning the ways of anxiety manifestation (situational anxiety and anxiety as a trait), underlining integrative interaction of its determining factors and of the features of personality traits modelling in the context of development from preschool stage to adolescence; conceptualizing a psycho-diagnosis model for integrated and deep study of anxiety and its correlates at different development stages; prospecting a psychological portrait of the child and adolescent with anxiety, based on an integrative approach of constructive regularities and mechanisms of anxiety and its correlates; conceiving and validation of a new psychological interventions model oriented to diminishing anxiety in preschoolers through the prism of the implications on the conditioning factors and with the possibility of extending it to other ages.

New research direction: The integrated approach to anxiety research at different age stages.

Theoretical significance of the work: grounding a theory of anxiety based on: holistic definition and conceptualizing of it from preschool to adolescence level from the perspective of gender, age, distinct ways of manifestation, of synthesis of determining factors (psycho-social and individual) and of modifications in personality traits; conceptualization of the anxiety phenomenon through the prism of its explanatory lawfulness and mechanisms as an integrated part of the affective sphere and of the personality of the child and adolescent development; grounding the approach of development of affectivity and preschooler’s personality key elements oriented to anxiety diminishing with its extension to subsequent ages of development; the development of a new theory regarding anxiety in children and adolescents together with the psycho-diagnostic model and that of psychological interventions suggested for the assessment and diminishing of the anxiety complete and enrich the theoretical fundamentals of the psychological science with ample knowledge. The applicative value of the work: conceptualizing a methodology of diagnostic and examination of the anxiety which can also be extended in the investigation of the affective sphere and that of the personality applicable at individual and group level to children and adolescents; the validation of the psychological intervention model based on the implications on anxiety conditioning factors, constituted of expressive-creative techniques and relaxation exercises, meditations and other types of practices like mindfulness for diminishing in an original and innovative manner both anxiety and different problems from the area of affective sphere and that of the personality at preschoolers and children of other ages; the possibility, experimentally proved, by the valorization in the national system of psychological assistance/support of the psycho-diagnostic and psychological intervention models regarding study and diminishing anxiety at different age; underlining the features of the anxiety and of the problems correlated with it allows the determination of the essential directions for the optimization of emotional and personality development of children and adolescents; formulating a set of recommendations for parents and academic staff referring to diminishing anxiety and related problems at children and adolescents.

Implementation of research results: The theoretic-experimental results have been implemented within state programs and national projects, within Erasmus+ international mobility program, within the didactic process while training and forming Bachelor, Master and Doctoral students from the Psychology faculties of higher education institutions, within continuous training courses, within scientific-methodological seminars for school psychologist and counselors and teaching staff.