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Amilliah Kenya
Charles Vuyiya


Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Academic Learning


Objective: Anxiety and depression are among the many mental disorders proposed to affect learning and general academic performance. The neurobiological effect of anxiety and depression have negative effects on student academic leaning or academic performance in colleges and universities. This paper explores the neurobiological effects of anxiety and depression on academic learning in university and college students.

Method: we conducted a literature review examining the neurobiological contrivances associated with anxiety and depression and their possible effect on memory, which in turn affects academic learning and performance. Four people searched MEDLINE, Scopus, ISI Web of knowledge, (Web of science) PubMed, Google scholar, and PsychINFO to identify studies published between 1997 and 2018 discussing the effects of anxiety and depression on academic learning. We used a combination of terms, depression, anxiety, stress, neurobiological effects, neurobiology, neurology, effect, academic learning, academic performance, learning, comprehension, understanding, college students, and university students. Studies were evaluated using a quality rating.

Results: Thirty-nine articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and were reviewed. Some of the papers reviewed focused on the neurobiology of stress and depression correlated to learning, memory, acquisition, retention, and retrieval of information. Others enumerated neurobiological processes of learning with a link to anxiety and or depression.

Conclusions: Stress and depression impair cognitive performance. Depressed and anxious students show impoverished recollection, positive memory deficits, and biased retrieval of autobiographical memories. They display adverse effects on immediate recall, acquisition, and retrieval of newly learned information.


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