First Advisor

Athanasiou, Michelle C

Second Advisor

Hess, Robyn S

Document Type


Date Created



Although it is sometimes believed that children do not suffer from stress and its negative consequences as adults do, children are equally affected by the harmful potential of excess stress. Because childhood is a period of rapid neurological growth, the effects of unnecessary stress may be more pronounced and enduring throughout the individual’s life. Past investigations suggest that individuals who experience excessive levels of psychological stress associated with anxiety show reduced executive functioning, especially within the area of working memory ability. Further, poor working memory has been shown to affect educational achievement across many different academic subjects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of the relationships among academic stress, working memory, and academic achievement in elementary school students. This study represents a unique contribution to current research in this area by utilizing elementary-age participants and considering specific academic related stressors. Results of the multiple linear regression analyses utilized in the current study suggest that academic stress was a significant predictor of both verbal and visual-spatial working memory. Further, both verbal and visual-spatial working memory abilities were found to be significant mediators of the relationship between achievement and academic stress in these models.


Academic Achievement, Academic stress, Elementary students, Working memory


144 pages

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Copyright is held by the author.