Control, anxiety and test performance : self-reported and physiological indicators of anxiety as mediators

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The British journal of educational psychology. Wiley. 2022, 93(S1), pp. 72-89. ISSN 0007-0998. eISSN 2044-8279. Available under: doi: 10.1111/bjep.12536
Zusammenfassung

Background: This study investigated the role of different test anxiety components (affective, cognitive, motivational and physiological) as mediators between control and perfor-mance as proposed by Pekrun's control-value theory (CVT). While all components were assessed via self-report, the phys-iological component was additionally assessed via electroder-mal activity (EDA).
Aims: We examined the relative impact of the self-reported anxiety components and EDA in this mediating mechanism to identify the most relevant assessment(s) (i.e., self-reported anxiety components and/or EDA) for predicting test performance.
Sample: The study comprised 50 eighth graders.
Methods: Data were collected during a mathematics test comprising six task blocks. State self-reports of control and anxiety components along with test performance and other test emotions were collected block-wise (i.e., repeated assess-ments within students). EDA was continuously recorded.
Results: Consistent with CVT, intra-individual mediation analysis with multiple mediators revealed that higher control predicted lower anxiety (i.e., all self-reported components). Unexpectedly, higher control was associated with increased EDA. Follow-up analyses taking other test emotions into account suggested this might reflect positive activation. Correlations between EDA and control and self-reported anxiety components differed depending on which test emotion was dominant in each situation. Regarding test performance, only the cognitive component was a significant mediator and thus seems to play a pivotal role in the relation-ship between control and performance.
Conclusions: Distinguishing between anxiety components and including unbiased physiological measures improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind the relationship between test anxiety and performance. Higher physiological arousal may be a sign of anxiety but can also be a sign of positive activation. When aiming to reduce negative effects of anxiety on performance, targeting the cognitive component seems crucial. Implications of these findings for educational and psychological practice are discussed.

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150 Psychologie
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control-value theory, electrodermal activity, skin conductance, test anxiety componentstest performance
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ISO 690ROOS, Anna-Lena, Thomas GÖTZ, Maike KRANNICH, Monika DONKER, Maik BIELEKE, Anna CALTABIANO, Tim MAINHARD, 2022. Control, anxiety and test performance : self-reported and physiological indicators of anxiety as mediators. In: The British journal of educational psychology. Wiley. 2022, 93(S1), pp. 72-89. ISSN 0007-0998. eISSN 2044-8279. Available under: doi: 10.1111/bjep.12536
BibTex
@article{Roos2022-07-29Contr-58304,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.1111/bjep.12536},
  title={Control, anxiety and test performance : self-reported and physiological indicators of anxiety as mediators},
  number={S1},
  volume={93},
  issn={0007-0998},
  journal={The British journal of educational psychology},
  pages={72--89},
  author={Roos, Anna-Lena and Götz, Thomas and Krannich, Maike and Donker, Monika and Bieleke, Maik and Caltabiano, Anna and Mainhard, Tim}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Background: This  study  investigated  the  role  of   different  test  anxiety  components  (affective,  cognitive,  motivational  and physiological) as mediators between control and perfor-mance as proposed by Pekrun's control-value theory (CVT). While all components were assessed via self-report, the phys-iological component was additionally assessed via electroder-mal activity (EDA).&lt;br /&gt;Aims: We examined the relative impact of  the self-reported anxiety components and EDA in this mediating mechanism to identify the most relevant assessment(s) (i.e., self-reported anxiety   components   and/or   EDA)   for   predicting   test   performance.&lt;br /&gt;Sample: The study comprised 50 eighth graders.&lt;br /&gt;Methods: Data  were  collected  during  a  mathematics  test  comprising six task blocks. State self-reports of  control and anxiety components along with test performance and other test emotions were collected block-wise (i.e., repeated assess-ments within students). EDA was continuously recorded.&lt;br /&gt;Results: Consistent  with  CVT,  intra-individual  mediation  analysis with multiple mediators revealed that higher control predicted  lower  anxiety  (i.e.,  all  self-reported  components).  Unexpectedly,  higher  control  was  associated  with  increased  EDA.  Follow-up  analyses  taking  other  test  emotions  into  account  suggested  this  might  reflect  positive  activation.  Correlations  between  EDA  and  control  and  self-reported  anxiety   components   differed   depending   on   which   test   emotion  was  dominant  in  each  situation.  Regarding  test  performance, only the cognitive component was a significant mediator and thus seems to play a pivotal role in the relation-ship between control and performance.&lt;br /&gt;Conclusions: Distinguishing between anxiety components and including unbiased physiological measures improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind the relationship between test anxiety and performance. Higher physiological arousal may be a sign of anxiety but can also be a sign of positive activation. When aiming to reduce negative effects of anxiety on performance, targeting the cognitive component seems crucial. Implications of these findings for educational and psychological practice are discussed.</dcterms:abstract>
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