York U Experts Available: What you need to know about back-to-school anxiety


York U Experts Available: What you need to know about back-to-school anxiety

TORONTO, ON, August 30, 2018 – Students of all ages are getting ready for their first week back in class and for some, there may be mixed emotions or even back-to-school anxiety.  In fact, according to 2017 statistics, one third of parents say their children have missed school due to issues related to anxiety and one quarter have missed days at work themselves to care for their children who were experiencing issues. Moreover, York research shows that at least 3 in 10 adolescents have some form of maladaptive perfectionism which is consistently linked with distress, especially anxiety.

Rebecca Pillai Riddell, psychologist, Professor in the Faculty of Health and Associate Vice President Research at York University, is available to discuss ways to help kids manage anxiety related to the back-to-school transition and can provide insight on:

  • back-to-class triggers that can cause anxiety for kids
  • tips on managing the transition back to class in the first weeks
  • how to identify when the anxiety is something more serious
  • preparing children for back-to-school vaccinations, do’s and don’tsRebecca Pillai Riddell

As a pediatric pain researcher, Pillai Riddell has been leading a multi-million-dollar program of research in better understanding children’s pain, fear and anxiety for over 20 years.  She is also a health and clinical psychologist registered to treat children, adolescents, and adults.

Gordon Flett, Professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and the director of the LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Research, is available to discuss the link between perfectionism and anxiety and can provide insight on:

  • How perfectionism is associated with less resilience in youth and how this impacts the ability to cope with interpersonal and academic stressors
  • What academic issues can play a role in perfectionism and how perfectionism develops in the classroom
  • Why maladaptive perfectionism is so prevalent among adolescents
  • How perfectionism is linked with underachievement in students who have difficulty coping with the pressure
  • The role social media can play in putting pressure on youth to ‘be perfect’
  • Why perfectionists are anxious and the signs to look for
  • When is perfectionism irrational? 

Flett holds a Canada Research Chair in Personality and Health. His past research on perfectionism and its consequences has established that the perfectionism construct is complex and multi-faceted and associated with numerous costs and consequences.


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York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact: Anjum Nayyar, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 44543, anayyar@yorku.ca