Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 196–204 | Cite as

Early Learning Experience and Adolescent Anxiety: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Between Japan and England

  • Cecilia A. EssauEmail author
  • Shin-ichi Ishikawa
  • Satoko Sasagawa
Original Paper


The main aim of this study was to compare the frequency of anxiety symptoms among adolescents in Japan and England, and to examine the association between early learning experiences and anxiety symptoms. A total of 299 adolescents (147 from England and 152 from Japan), aged 12 to 17 years were investigated. Results showed that adolescents in England reported significantly higher levels of anxiety symptoms than adolescents in Japan. For early learning experiences, no significant differences emerged between the two countries for parent punishment and reinforcement of anxious behavior. However, for non-anxiety physical symptoms (i.e. cold), adolescents in England scored significantly higher in parent punishment and the Japanese sample scored higher in parent reinforcement. Parent verbal transmission about the danger of anxiety and cold symptoms was more common in Japan than in England. The impact of learning experience on adolescent’s anxiety seemed to differ across cultures, which underscore the importance of cultural factors on adolescent’s anxiety.


Anxiety symptoms Learning experiences Spence children’s anxiety scale Cross-cultural comparison 



This study is part of an on-going research project on the Intergenerational Transmission of Anxiety in Japan and the UK, funded by the British Council under the “PMI2 Connect—Research Co-operation Award” (RC 87) to Roehampton University and University of Miyazaki. Project managed by Cecilia A. Essau and Shin-ichi Ishikawa.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia A. Essau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shin-ichi Ishikawa
    • 2
  • Satoko Sasagawa
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRoehampton University, Whitelands CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and CultureUniversity of MiyazakiMiyazakiJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Human SciencesMejiro UniversityTokyoJapan

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