Before speaking about what anxiety and anxiety states of a person are, I would like to mention what views of modern psychologists on anxiety and anxiety.

In modern psychology, it is customary to distinguish between "anxiety" and "anxiety", although half a century ago these differences were not obvious. Now, such terminological differentiation is characteristic of both domestic and foreign psychology and allows us to analyze this phenomenon through the categories of mental state and mental property. In modern psychology, anxiety is understood as a mental state, and anxiety as a mental property determined genetically, ontogenetically, or situationally.

Now we will move gradually to the amount of information that relates to types of anxiety, levels of anxiety, the concept of anxiety and anxiety, forms of anxiety and, in general, how this affects the state of the individual.

Anxiety and Anxiety

The concept of anxiety and anxiety

The concept of anxiety was introduced into psychology by 3. Freud, who instilled fear as such, concrete fear (German Furcht) and vague, unaccountable fear. Anxiety, which has a deep, irrational, internal character (German Angst). In philosophy, such a distinction was proposed by S. Kierkegaard, and is now extremely relevant in the philosophical and psychological system of existentialism. The differentiation of anxiety and fear according to the principle proposed by 3. Freud is supported by many modern researchers. It is believed that, in contrast to fear as a reaction to a specific threat, anxiety is a generalized, diffuse or pointless fear.


In contrast to anxiety, anxiety in modern psychology is regarded as a mental property and is defined as the individual’s tendency to experience anxiety, characterized by a low threshold for the occurrence of anxiety reactions (A Brief Psychological Dictionary, 1985).

The term “anxiety” is used to refer to relatively stable individual differences in an individual’s tendency to experience this condition. This feature does not directly manifest itself in behavior, but its level can be determined based on how often and how intensely anxiety states are observed in a person. A person with severe anxiety tends to perceive the world around him as embodying danger and threat to a much greater extent than a person with a low level of anxiety.

Types of anxiety

Normal and mobilization anxiety. Occurs sporadically and helps mobilize the physical and mental resources of a person. It is characteristic of mentally healthy, scenic, active personalities.

Personal Anxiety or Anxiety. It is a relatively stable personality characteristic and character trait that defines a low threshold for the occurrence of an anxiety reaction. It is characteristic of anxious, anancaste and dependent individuals.

Situational anxiety is a state of anxiety that occurs only in a stressful situation and ceases when it is completed.

Social anxiety - anxiety, often accompanied by fear arising from interaction with society. These people have a fear of public speaking and acting, a fear of communicating with officials, they avoid social contacts (especially with strangers), are overly concerned about the opinions of others about themselves, and are afraid of negative assessments and rejection. If these disorders reach the degree of a clinically developed state with autonomic, psychological and behavioral disorders, according to ICD-10 (ICD-10-International Classification of Diseases of the 10th revision), they are classified as social phobias.

Social phobias. Fear of close attention from other people, leading to the avoidance of social situations.

Neurotic anxiety is a chronic, clinically formed state that is accompanied by fear, anxiety, panic, obsessive-phobic, generalized anxiety disorder, as well as autonomic, psychological and behavioral disorders. It deprives a person of the ability to normal life.

Anxiety levels

Anxiety of the lowest intensity corresponds to a feeling of internal tension, expressed in feelings of tension, alertness, discomfort. It does not carry signs of a threat, but serves as a signal for the approach of more pronounced alarming phenomena. This level of anxiety has the greatest adaptive value.

At the second level, the feeling of internal tension is replaced or supplemented by hyperesthesic reactions, due to which previously neutral stimuli acquire significance, and when strengthened, they become negative emotional (irritability, which, in essence, is an undifferentiated response).

The third level - anxiety itself - is manifested in the experience of an uncertain threat, a feeling of an unclear danger that can develop into fear (fourth level) - a condition that occurs when

growing anxiety and manifested in the objectification of uncertain danger. Moreover, objects identified as “frightening” do not necessarily reflect the real cause of the alarm.

The fifth level is called the feeling of the inevitability of an impending disaster. It arises as a result of increasing anxiety and experiencing the inability to avoid danger, an imminent catastrophe, which is associated not with the content of fear, but only with an increase in anxiety.

The most intense manifestation of anxiety (sixth level) - anxious-fearful excitement - is expressed in the need for motor discharge, seeking help, which will maximally disrupt human behavior.

There are several points of view on the relationship between the intensity of experiencing anxiety and the effectiveness of the activity mediated by it.

According to the theory of the inverted U, based on the well-known Yerks-Dodson law, anxiety can stimulate activity to a certain extent, but, having overcome the boundary of the “zone of optimal functioning” of the individual, begins to produce a relaxing effect (Khanin Yu. L., 1976).

The threshold theory claims that each individual has his own threshold of excitement, beyond which the effectiveness of activity drops sharply (discretely) (Karolchak-Bernatsk B. B., 1983).

Anxiety and anxiety of personality

Forms of anxiety

By the form of anxiety, we mean a special combination of the nature of experience, awareness, verbal and non-verbal expression in the characteristics of behavior, communication and activity. The form of anxiety is manifested in the spontaneously folding ways of overcoming and compensating for it, as well as in the attitude of the child, adolescent to this experience.

The study of forms of anxiety was carried out in the process of individual and group practical psychological work with children and adolescents. It is known that there are 2 categories of anxiety:

  1. open - consciously experienced and manifested in behavior and activity in the form of a state of anxiety;
  2. hidden - to a varying degree, not realized, manifested either by excessive calmness, insensitivity to real ill-being and even denial of it, or indirectly through specific modes of behavior.

Within these categories, various forms of anxiety were identified and subjected to special analysis. Three forms of open anxiety stand out.

Acute, unregulated or poorly regulated anxiety - strong, conscious, manifested externally through the symptoms of anxiety, the individual cannot cope with it independently.

Adjustable and compensated anxiety, in which children independently develop quite effective ways to cope with their anxiety. According to the characteristics of the methods used for these purposes, two subforms were distinguished within this form: a) a decrease in the level of anxiety and b) its use to stimulate one's own activity and increase activity. This form of anxiety occurs mainly in primary school and early adolescence, i.e. in periods characterized as stable.

An important characteristic of both forms is that anxiety is rated by children as an unpleasant, difficult experience that they would like to get rid of.

Cultivated anxiety - in this case, in contrast to the voiced above, anxiety is recognized and experienced as a valuable quality for a person that allows you to achieve what you want. Cultivated anxiety comes in several flavors. Firstly, it can be recognized by the individual as the main regulator of his activity, ensuring his organization, responsibility. Secondly, it can act as a kind of worldview and value attitude. Thirdly, it is often manifested in the search for a certain “conditional benefit from the presence of anxiety and is expressed through increased symptoms. In some cases, one subject had two or even all three options at the same time.

As a form of cultivated anxiety, a form that we conventionally called "magic" can be considered. In this case, the child, the teenager, as it were, “conjures evil forces” by constantly playing in the mind the most disturbing events of his, by constantly talking about them, without, however, freeing himself from fear of them, and further strengthening him by the mechanism of the “bewitched psychological circle” ".

Speaking about forms of anxiety, one cannot but touch upon the problem of the so-called “masked” anxiety. “Masks” of anxiety are those forms of behavior that take the form of pronounced manifestations of personal characteristics generated by anxiety, which allow a person to experience it in a relaxed form and not to show it outside. As such “masks”, aggression, dependence, apathy, excessive daydreaming, etc. are most often described. There are aggressive-anxious and dependent-anxious types (with varying degrees of awareness of anxiety). Aggressive-anxiety type is most often found in preschool and adolescence and with open and hidden forms of anxiety as a direct expression of aggressive forms of behavior. Anxiety-dependent type is most common with open forms of anxiety. Especially in acute, unregulated and cultivated forms.

The manifestation of anxiety in preschool age

Anxiety is a vague, prolonged and vague fear of future events. It arises in situations where there is not yet (and there may not be) a real danger to a person, but he is waiting for it, and so far he has no idea how to deal with it. According to some researchers, anxiety is a combination of several emotions - fear, sadness, shame and guilt.

It is generally accepted that the problem of anxiety as a psychological problem was first posed and subjected to special consideration in the works of Z. Freud.

Z. Freud recognized the need to distinguish between fear and anxiety, believing that fear is a reaction to a specific danger, while anxiety is a reaction to a danger that is not known and cannot be determined. Considering that understanding anxiety is extremely important for explaining a person’s mental life, Freud scrupulously approached the analysis of this phenomenon, repeatedly revised and refined his concept - mainly in those parts that relate to the causes and functions of anxiety. Freud defined anxiety as an unpleasant experience, a signal of anticipated danger. The content of anxiety is feelings of uncertainty and helplessness.

Anxiety is characterized by three main symptoms - a specific feeling of unpleasantness; appropriate somatic reactions (primarily heart palpitations); awareness of this experience. Freud initially admitted the existence of unconscious anxiety, but then he came to the conclusion that this condition is experienced consciously and is accompanied by an increase in the ability to cope with danger (through struggle or flight). Anxiety places them in the ego.

As for unconscious anxiety, later it began to be considered in the mainstream of studies of psychological defense (A. Freud and others). According to Freud, anxiety is a repetition in our fantasies of situations related to the experiences of helplessness experienced in past experiences. The prototype of such situations is the trauma of birth. This idea in the future, up to the present day, has been actively developed, and sometimes in unexpected forms.

Freud identified three main types of anxiety:

  1. objective, caused by real external danger;
  2. neurotic, caused by a danger not known and not defined;
  3. moral, defined by him as "anxiety of conscience."

An analysis of neurotic anxiety allowed Freud to distinguish two of its main differences from objective. That is, from real fear. Neurotic anxiety differs from objective anxiety “in that the danger is internal and not external, and that it is not consciously recognized”. The main source of neurotic anxiety is the fear of potential harm that can cause the release of drives. Neurotic anxiety, according to Freud, can exist in three main forms. Firstly, it is “freely floating”, “freely floating” anxiety, or “readiness in the form of anxiety,” which, as Freud figuratively observes, an anxious person carries around with him and who is always ready to attach to any more or less suitable object ( both external and internal). For example, it may translate into a fear of expectation. Secondly, these are phobic reactions, which are characterized by the disproportionality of the situation that caused them - fear of heights, snakes, crowds, thunder, etc. Thirdly, it is fear that occurs with hysteria and severe neurosis and is characterized by a complete lack of connection with any external danger.

Despite the fact that in our days the ideas of classical psychoanalysis are no longer as popular in the psychological community as in earlier times, it must be recognized that Freud's ideas for many years, up to our days, have determined the main directions of the study of anxiety.

The anxiety problem was further developed in line with neo-Freudianism, primarily in the works of G.S. Sullivan, C. Horney and E. Fromm.

E. Fromm emphasized that the main source of anxiety, internal anxiety is the experience of alienation associated with the person’s self-image as a separate person, who therefore feels helplessness before the forces of nature and society. E. Fromm considered the most different forms of love between people to be the main way to resolve this situation. No wonder he called one of the first sections of his book “The Art of Love” “Love is the solution to the problem of human existence”.

G.S.Sullivan speaking of anxiety, uses concepts from psychosomatics. He notes that the satisfaction of biological drives is usually accompanied by the removal of physical stress, both in the internal organs and in the skeletal muscles; it happens involuntarily. Under the influence of the parasympathetic nervous system, the internal organs relax (satisfaction eliminates the need for further action), and the external muscles, controlled by the central nervous system, also strive to reduce stress.

According to R.S. Nemova, anxiety is defined as the property of a person to come into a state of increased anxiety, to experience fear and anxiety in specific social situations.

V.V. Davydov interprets anxiety as an individual psychological feature, consisting in an increased tendency to experience anxiety in a variety of life situations, including such social characteristics that are not suggested.

The structure of anxiety includes the concepts: “anxiety”, “fear”, “anxiety”. Consider the essence of each. Fear is an affective (emotionally acute) reflection in a person’s mind of a specific threat to his life and well-being. Anxiety is an emotionally keen sense of an impending threat. Anxiety, in contrast to fear, is not always a negatively perceived feeling, since it is also possible in the form of joyful excitement, exciting expectations.

The unifying principle for fear and anxiety is feelings of anxiety. It manifests itself in the presence of unnecessary movements or, conversely, immobility. A person is lost, speaks in a trembling voice, or completely falls silent.

Fear can manifest itself in the form of an excited or suppressed emotional state. Most often, with increasing fear, its highest form - horror - is accompanied precisely by a depressed state, depression.

Some philosophers, especially those who approach this phenomenon from a purely moral point of view, consider fear a harmful emotion with bad consequences. Other philosophers, especially those who view fear as a predominantly biological phenomenon, on the contrary, consider this condition to be useful because it alerts you to dangerous situations. Both points of view are not mutually exclusive, since the emotion of fear, as well as sensation, pain, ensures the self-preservation of the individual, and becomes unproductive or dangerous only in the most intense and prolonged manifestations.


C. Spielberger identifies two types of anxiety: personal and situational (reactive). Personal anxiety involves a wide range of objectively safe circumstances as containing a threat (anxiety as a personality trait). Situational anxiety usually arises as a short-term reaction to a specific situation that objectively threatens a person.

A.I. Zakharov draws attention to the fact that in the older preschool age, anxiety is not yet a stable trait of character, it has situational manifestations, since a child develops his personality precisely in the period of preschool childhood.

A.M. Parishioners identify types of anxiety based on situations related to: the learning process, educational anxiety; with self-image - self-esteem anxiety; with communication - interpersonal anxiety. In addition to the varieties of anxiety, its level structure is also considered.

I.V. Imedadze identifies two levels of anxiety: low and high. Low is necessary for normal adaptation to the environment, and high causes discomfort of a person in the surrounding society.

B.I. Kochubey, E.V. Novikov is distinguished by three levels of anxiety associated with activity: destructive, insufficient and constructive. Anxiety as a psychological feature can take many forms.

According to A.M. Parishioners, anxiety is an experience of emotional discomfort associated with the expectation of ill-being, with a premonition of imminent danger, and the form of anxiety refers to a special combination of the nature of the experience, the recognition of verbal and non-verbal expression in the characteristics of behavior, communication and activity.

Anxiety is an experience of emotional discomfort associated with the expectation of ill-being, with a premonition of imminent danger. She identified open and closed forms of anxiety. Open forms: acute, unregulated anxiety; adjustable and compensating anxiety; cultivated anxiety. Closed (disguised) forms of anxiety are called by her "masks". These masks are: aggressiveness; excessive dependence; apathy; deceitfulness; laziness; excessive daydreaming. Increased anxiety affects all areas of the psyche of the child: affective-emotional, communicative, moral-volitional, cognitive.

Anxiety, like fear, is an emotional reaction to danger. Unlike fear, anxiety is characterized primarily by vagueness and uncertainty. Even if there is a specific danger, as in an earthquake, anxiety is associated with the horror of the unknown. The same quality is present in neurotic anxiety, regardless of whether the danger is uncertain or whether it is embodied in something specific, for example, in fear of heights.

Different individuals consider completely different things as their vital values; one can find the most varied variations in what they experience as a deadly threat. Although certain values ​​are almost universally perceived as vital - for example, life, freedom, children - however, it depends only on the living conditions of a given person and on the structure of his personality, which will become the highest value for him: body, property, reputation, beliefs, work, love relationship.

Thus, the concept of anxiety is interpreted differently by various authors; but, in general, from the definitions of concepts it follows that anxiety can be considered as: a psychological phenomenon; individual psychological personality traits; a person’s tendency to experience anxiety; state of increased anxiety.

Anxiety in primary school age

The school is one of the first to open the world of social and social life to the child. In parallel with the family, he takes on one of the main roles in raising a child.

Thus, the school becomes one of the determining factors in the formation of the personality of the child. Many of its basic properties and personal qualities are formed in this period of life, all of its subsequent development largely depends on how they are laid.

It is known that a change in social relations presents significant difficulties for the child. Anxiety, emotional tension are mainly associated with the absence of people close to the child, with a change in the environment, familiar conditions and the rhythm of life.

The expectation of impending danger is combined with a sense of suspense: the child, as a rule, is unable to explain what, in essence, he fears. Unlike the emotion of fear similar to it, anxiety does not have a definite source. It is diffuse and behavioral can manifest itself in the general disorganization of activities that violate its orientation and productivity.

Two large groups of signs of anxiety can be distinguished: the first is physiological signs that occur at the level of somatic symptoms and sensations; the second is reactions occurring in the mental sphere. The complexity of the description of these manifestations lies in the fact that all of them individually and even in a certain aggregate can accompany not only anxiety, but also other states, experiences, such as despair, anger and even joyful excitement.

The psychological and behavioral reactions of anxiety are even more diverse, bizarre and unexpected. Anxiety, as a rule, entails difficulty in making decisions, impaired coordination of movements. Sometimes the tension of anxious expectation is so great that a person involuntarily hurts himself.

Usually, anxiety is a transitional state, it weakens as soon as a person really encounters the expected situation and begins to orient and act. However, it also happens that the expectation that generates anxiety is delayed, and then it makes sense to talk about anxiety.

Anxiety, as a steady state, impedes the clarity of thought of the effectiveness of communication, enterprise, creates difficulties in meeting new people. In general, anxiety is a subjective indicator of a person’s dysfunction. But in order for it to form, a person must accumulate luggage of unsuccessful, inadequate ways to overcome the state of anxiety. That is why, for the prevention of the anxiety-neurotic type of personality development, it is necessary to help children find effective ways by which they can learn to cope with excitement, insecurity and other manifestations of emotional instability.

In general, the cause of anxiety can be anything that disturbs the child's sense of confidence, reliability in his relationship with his parents. As a result of anxiety and anxiety, a personality torn apart by conflicts grows up. For the purpose of fear from fear, anxiety, feelings of helplessness and isolation, an individual has a definition of “neurotic” needs, which she calls neurotic personality traits, acquired as a result of a vicious experience.

The child, experiencing a hostile and indifferent attitude of others, seized with anxiety, develops its own system of behavior and attitude towards other people. He becomes angry, aggressive, withdrawn, or tries to gain power over others in order to compensate for the lack of love. However, such behavior does not lead to success; on the contrary, it exacerbates the conflict and enhances helplessness and fear.

The transformation of anxiety from mother to infant is put forward by Sullivan as a postulate, but for him it remains unclear through which channels this connection is made. Sullivan, pointing out the basic interpersonal need - the need for tenderness, which is already inherent in an infant capable of empathy in interpersonal situations, shows the genesis of this need, passing through each age period. So, in a baby, the need for tenderness of the mother, in childhood, the need for an adult who could be an accomplice in his games, adolescence, the need for communication with peers, and in adolescence, the need for love. The subject has a constant desire for communication with people and the need for interpersonal reliability. If a child encounters unfriendliness, inattention, and alienation of close people to whom he aspires, then this causes him anxiety and hinders normal development. A child develops destructive behavior and attitude towards people. He becomes either embittered, aggressive, or timid, afraid to do what he wants, anticipating failure, and showing disobedience. Sullivan calls this phenomenon “a hostile transformation”, its source is the anxiety caused by the lack of communication.


Each period of development is characterized by its predominant sources of anxiety. So, for a two-year-old child the source of anxiety is separation from the mother, and for six-year-old children - the lack of adequate identification patterns with parents. In adolescence, the fear of being rejected by peers. Anxiety pushes the child to such behavior that can save him from trouble and fear.

With the development of the child’s imagination of anxiety, he begins to focus on imaginary dangers. And later, when an understanding develops of the value of competition and success, it turns out to be ridiculous and rejected. With age, the child undergoes some restructuring in relation to objects of concern. So, anxiety gradually decreases in response to known and unknown stimuli, but by 10-11 years old the anxiety associated with the possibility of being rejected by peers increases. Much of what has been disturbing during these years remains in one form or another in adults.

The sensitivity of an object to events that may cause anxiety depends, first of all, on understanding the danger, and also to a large extent, on a person’s past association, on his actual or imagined inability to cope with the situation, on the meaning that he himself attaches to what happened.

Thus, in order to free the child from anxiety, anxiety and fears, it is necessary, first of all, to fix attention not on the specific symptoms of anxiety. Based on the reasons underlying them - circumstances and conditions, this condition of a child often arises from a sense of uncertainty, from demands that turn out to be higher than his strengths, from threats, cruel punishments, and unstable discipline.

Completely remove the state of anxiety, you can only eliminate all the difficulties of cognition, which is unrealistic, and not necessary.

Destructive anxiety causes a state of panic, despondency. The child begins to doubt his abilities and strengths. But anxiety disorganizes not only educational activity, it begins to destroy personal structures. Of course, not only anxiety causes behavioral disorders. There are other mechanisms of deviation in the development of the personality of the child. However, counseling psychologists argue that, most of the problems that parents turn to them about, most of the obvious violations that impede the normal course of education and upbringing are inherently connected with the anxiety of the child.

B. Kochubey, E. Novikova consider anxiety due to age and gender characteristics.

It is believed that in preschool and primary school ages, boys are more anxious than girls. They are more likely to have tics, stuttering, enuresis. At this age, they are more sensitive to the effects of adverse psychological factors, which facilitates the soil for the formation of various types of neuroses.

It turned out that the content of girls 'anxiety is different from boys' anxiety, and the older the children, the greater the difference. Anxiety girls often associated with other people; they are concerned about the attitude of others, the possibility of a quarrel or separation from them.

What bothers the boys the most is one word: violence. Boys are afraid of physical injuries, accidents, as well as punishments originating from parents or authorities outside the family: teachers, school principal.

A person’s age reflects not only the level of his physiological maturity, but also the nature of the connection with the surrounding reality, the features of the internal level, and the specificity of experience. School time is the most important stage in a person’s life, during which his psychological appearance fundamentally changes. The nature of anxious experiences is changing. The intensity of anxiety from the first to the tenth grade increases more than twice. According to many psychologists, the level of anxiety begins to increase sharply after 11 years, reaching its peak by 20 years, and by 30 gradually decreases.

The older the child becomes, the more specific, more realistic his anxiety. If young children are disturbed by supernatural monsters breaking through the threshold of the subconscious, adolescents are concerned about the situation associated with violence, expectation, and ridicule.

The cause of anxiety is always the child’s internal conflict, his disagreement with himself, the contradictory nature of his aspirations, when one strong desire contradicts another, one need interferes with another. The most common causes of such an internal conflict are: quarrels between people who are equally close to the child when he is forced to side with one of them against the other; incompatibility of different systems of requirements for a child, when, for example, what parents allow and encourage is not approved at school, and vice versa; the contradictions between the overestimated claims, often suggested by the parents, on the one hand, and the real capabilities of the child, on the other, the dissatisfaction of basic needs, such as the need for love and independence.

Thus, conflicting internal states of the child’s soul can be caused by:

  • conflicting requirements for it coming from different sources;
  • inadequate requirements, inappropriate to the abilities and aspirations of the child;
  • negative requirements that put the child in a humiliated dependent position.

In all three cases, there is a feeling of “loss of support”, the loss of solid guidelines in life, and insecurity in the world.

Anxiety does not always appear in an explicit form, since it is a rather painful condition. And as soon as it arises, a whole set of mechanisms is included in the child’s soul that “process” this state into something else, albeit also unpleasant, but not so unbearable. This can unrecognizably change the whole external and internal picture of anxiety.

The simplest of psychological mechanisms works almost instantly: it is better to be afraid of something than something is unknown. So, children's fears arise. Fear is the “first derivative” of anxiety. Its advantage is in its certainty, in that it always leaves some free space. If, for example, I am afraid of dogs, I can walk where there are no dogs and feel safe. In cases of pronounced fear, his object may have nothing to do with the true cause of the anxiety that gave rise to this fear. A child may be panicky afraid of school, but at the heart of this is a family conflict, deeply experienced by him. Although fear, compared with anxiety, gives a slightly greater sense of security, it is still a condition in which it is very difficult to live. Therefore, as a rule, the processing of anxious experiences at the stage of fear does not end. The older the children, the less often the manifestation of fear, and the more often - other, hidden forms of anxiety.

However, it must be borne in mind that an anxious child simply did not find another way to deal with anxiety. Despite the inadequacy and absurdity of such methods, they need to be respected, not ridiculed, but help the child to “react” to his problems with other methods, you cannot destroy the “security island” without giving anything in return.

The refuge of many children, their salvation from anxiety, is a fantasy world. In fantasies, the child resolves his insoluble conflicts; in dreams, his unmet needs are satisfied. In itself, fantasy is a wonderful quality inherent in children. It allows a person to go beyond the limits of reality in his thoughts, build his inner world, unshackled by a conditional framework, and be creative in solving various issues. However, fantasies should not be completely divorced from reality, there should be a constant mutual connection between them.

The fantasies of anxious children are usually devoid of this property. A dream does not continue life, but rather, contrasts itself with it. In life I don’t know how to run - in my dreams I win a prize at regional competitions; I am not sociable, I have few friends - in my dreams I am the leader of a huge company and perform heroic acts that cause admiration for everyone. The fact that such children and adolescents, in fact, could achieve the subject of their dreams, they, like, are not strangely not interested, even if it costs little effort. Their real merits and victories will face the same fate. They, in general, try not to think about what really is, because everything real is filled with anxiety for them. Strictly speaking, the real and the actual, they change places: they live in the realm of their dreams, and everything outside this sphere is perceived as a heavy dream.

However, such a departure into its illusory world is not reliable enough - sooner or later, the demand for a big world will burst into the world of the child and we need more effective methods of protection against anxiety.

Anxious children often come to a simple conclusion - in order not to be afraid of anything, you need to make sure that they are afraid of me. According to Eric Burn, they are trying to convey their anxiety to others. Therefore, aggressive behavior is often a form of concealment of personal anxiety.

Anxiety can be very difficult to discern for aggressiveness. Self-confident, aggressive, at every opportunity, humiliating others, do not look anxious at all. His speeches and manners are careless, his clothes have a shade of shamelessness and excessive “uncomplexity”. And, nevertheless, often in the depths of their souls such children hide an alarm. And behavior and appearance are only ways to get rid of a feeling of self-doubt, from the consciousness of one’s inability to live as one would like.

Another, often encountered outcome of anxious experiences is passive behavior, lethargy, apathy, lack of initiative. The conflict between conflicting aspirations was resolved by abandoning any aspirations.

Anxious children are characterized by frequent manifestations of anxiety and anxiety, as well as a large number of fears, and fears and anxieties arise in those situations in which, it would seem, nothing threatens the child. Anxious children are particularly sensitive, suspicious, and sensitive. Also, children are often characterized by low self-esteem, in connection with which they have the expectation of ill-being on the part of others. This is characteristic of those children whose parents set overwhelming tasks for them, requiring that the children are not able to perform.

Anxious children are very sensitive to their failures, react sharply to them, tend to abandon the activities in which they experience difficulties.

In these children, you can notice a noticeable difference in behavior in the classroom and out of class. Outside of classes, these are lively, sociable and immediate children, in the classroom they are sandwiched and tense. They answer the questions of the teacher in a low and deaf voice, they may even begin to stutter. Their speech can be either very fast, hasty, or slow, difficult. As a rule, motor agitation occurs: the child tugs at his clothes with his hands, manipulates something.

Anxious children are prone to bad habits of a neurotic nature: they bite nails, suck their fingers, pull their hair out. Manipulations with their own body reduce their emotional stress, soothe.

Among the causes of children's anxiety, in the first place - improper upbringing and unfavorable relations of the child with parents, especially with the mother. So, the rejection, rejection by the mother of the child causes him anxiety because of the inability to satisfy the need for love, affection and protection. In this case, fear arises: the child feels the convention of maternal love. Unfulfillment of the need for love will prompt him to seek its satisfaction by any means.

Children's anxiety can also be a consequence of the symbiotic relationship of the child with the mother, when the mother feels herself whole with the child, trying to protect him from the difficulties and troubles of life. She “binds” the child to herself, protecting from imaginary, nonexistent dangers. As a result, the child is anxious when left without a mother, easily lost, worried and afraid. Instead of activity and independence, passivity and dependence develop.

In those cases when the upbringing is based on excessive requirements that the child cannot cope with or can cope with difficulty, anxiety can be caused by fear, not cope, do it wrong. Parents often cultivate the “correctness” of behavior: attitudes toward the child may include tight control, a strict system of norms and rules, deviation from which entails censure and punishment. In these cases, the child’s anxiety can be caused by fear of deviation from the norms and rules established by adults.

Anxiety of a child can also be caused by the peculiarities of the interaction of an adult with a child: the prevalence of an authoritarian style of communication or the inconsistency of requirements and assessments. And in the first and second cases, the child is in constant tension due to fear of not fulfilling the requirements of adults, not “pleasing” them, breaking a strict framework.

Speaking of a rigid framework, we mean the restrictions set by the teacher. These include restrictions on spontaneous activity in games, in activities, etc .; restriction of children's inconsistency in the classroom, for example, cutting off children. The limitations can also include interruption of emotional manifestations of children. So, if emotions arise during a child’s activity, they need to be thrown out, which may be prevented by an authoritarian teacher.

The rigid framework established by an authoritarian teacher often implies a high pace of activity, which keeps the child in constant tension for a long time, and generates a fear of not having time or doing it wrong.

The disciplinary measures used by such a teacher are often reduced to censure, shouts, negative ratings, punishments.

Inconsistent teacher causes anxiety of the child that does not allow him to predict his own behavior. The constant variability of the teacher’s requirements, the dependence of his behavior on his mood, emotional lability entail confusion in the child, the inability to decide what he should do in a particular case.

The teacher also needs to know situations that can cause childhood anxiety, especially the situation of rejection by a significant adult or by peers; the child believes: that he is not loved, there is his fault, he is bad. The child will strive to deserve love with the help of positive results, success in activities. If this desire does not materialize, then the child's anxiety increases.

The next situation is a situation of rivalry, competition. It will be especially anxious in children whose upbringing takes place under conditions of hypersocialization. Hypersocialization is the intensive socialization of everything that exists beyond the “upper boundary” of society. Another situation is a situation of increased responsibility. When an anxious child falls into her, his anxiety is caused by the fear of not meeting the expectations, expectations of an adult and whether to be rejected.

In such situations, anxious children are usually characterized by an inadequate response. In the case of their anticipation, expectation or frequent repetitions of the same situation that causes anxiety, the child develops a stereotype of behavior, a certain pattern that allows you to avoid anxiety or reduce it as much as possible. These patterns include a systematic refusal of answers in the classroom, refusal to participate in activities that cause anxiety, and silence of the child instead of answering questions from unfamiliar adults or those to whom the child has a negative attitude.

We can agree with the conclusion of A.M. Prikozhan, that anxiety in childhood is a stable education for individuals, persisting for a fairly long period of time. It has its own incentive force and stable forms of realization in behavior with a predominance in the last compensatory and protective manifestations. Like any complex psychological education, anxiety is characterized by a complex structure, including the cognitive, emotional and operational aspects with the dominance of the emotional ... is a derivative of a wide range of family disorders.

Thus, in understanding the nature of anxiety among different authors, two approaches can be traced: understanding anxiety as a property inherent in a person and understanding anxiety as reactions to an external world hostile to a person, that is, removing anxiety from social conditions of life

Anxiety at school age

School time is the most important stage in a person’s life, during which his psychological appearance fundamentally changes. The school opens the world of social and social life for the child and, in parallel with the family, is engaged in its upbringing. Thus, the school becomes one of the determining factors in the formation of the personality of the child. For any child, admission to school is an extremely important event, but at the same time, some children easily get used to the new environment and new requirements, while others are poorly adapted. At the moment of entering the school, the child’s internal position should be formed, which is a motivation center that directs the child to study, his emotionally positive attitude towards school, the desire to be a “good student”. In those cases when the positive position of the student is not satisfied, the child may experience persistent emotional distress, fear of the school, unwillingness to attend, and school anxiety. This is a specific type of anxiety that is characteristic of a certain class of situations - situations of the child interacting with various components of the school educational environment. It manifests itself in excitement, increased anxiety in educational situations, and the expectation of a negative attitude of classmates and teachers towards themselves. Usually these children are very vulnerable, suspicious, very sensitive and take everything too seriously. Anxious children get into school, in a situation of constant evaluations of their actions and are chronically unsuccessful. The child's inability to cope with this failure is the basis for the occurrence and consolidation of anxiety. Thus, the teacher is the most significant and at the same time the most traumatic figure for the child at school. In these children, by the end of primary school age, a psychological syndrome of chronic failure develops.


The problem of anxiety is one of the most pressing problems in modern psychology. Among the negative experiences of a person, anxiety occupies a special place, often it leads to a decrease in working capacity, productivity of activities, to difficulties in communication. In a state of anxiety, as a rule, we experience not one emotion, but some combination of different emotions, each of which affects our social relationships, our somatic state, perception, thinking, behavior. It should be borne in mind that anxiety in different people can be caused by different emotions.

The problem of diagnosing children's anxiety requires special attention from psychologists, educators, parents, since the timely identification of its symptoms, the study of the anxiety-forming effects of the child’s macro-social environment will prevent the negative manifestations of anxiety.

Based on theoretical and empirical studies, it can be argued that, being a complex phenomenon that has various forms and types, periodicity and degree of manifestation, which cannot be unambiguously assessed, anxiety can carry both a positive and negative impact on the formation of a child’s personality.

As a result, we were able to identify important features of anxious children.

Firstly, this is a relatively high level of learning of such children, which contradicts the point of view of teachers on them as poorly trained or not trained at all.

Secondly, the inability of children to isolate the main task, focus on it, the desire to cover with their attention all the elements of activity.

Thirdly, the refusal to solve the problem after failure, and failure is associated by them not with the inability to solve a particular problem, but with the lack of necessary abilities, which is also typical of anxious children.

In addition, this group of anxious children was distinguished by a rather low level of self-esteem, both general and self-esteem in activities. The child in this situation looked completely disoriented, he seemed to lose all sorts of criteria for a correct or incorrect answer, correct behavior.

Note that for children of other school ages, this behavior is unusual. It can be assumed that it is specific for the first stages of training, when anxiety arises as a child’s reaction to his lack of understanding of new requirements and the inability to answer them. This phenomenon is in many ways similar to what the World Health Organization has designated as “school shock.”

Manifestations of the child’s high anxiety, accompanied by such emotional and psychophysiological changes as impaired well-being, sleep, appetite, playing activity, communication with adults and peers, etc., require the mandatory adoption of psycho-preventive measures for its negative consequences.

When working with anxious children, the main emphasis should be on the fact that in primary school age one of the main causes of inadequate behavior of a child is anxiety. The role of anxiety was further shown. For fruitful work, for a full harmonious life, a certain level of anxiety is necessary.

By: Dr. Irene Abramovich


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