Personal and situational predictors of test anxiety of students in post-compulsory education

D. Putwain, K. Woods, W. Symes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)


Background Recent models of evaluation anxiety emphasize the importance of personal knowledge and self-regulatory processes in the development of test anxiety, but do not theorize a route for situational influences. Aim To investigate the relationship between test anxiety and personal knowledge beliefs (achievement goals and perceived academic competence), parental pressure/support, and teachers' achievement goals. Sample One-hundred and seventy five students at a sixth-form college following pre-degree courses in Psychology and Sociology. Method Self-report data were collected for test anxiety, personal achievement goals, academic self-concept, perceived test competence, teachers' achievement goals, and parental pressure/support. Relationships were examined through correlational and regression analyses. Results The relationship between test anxiety and personal knowledge beliefs differed for the various components of test anxiety. A mastery-avoidance goal was related to worry and tension, and a performance-approach goal to bodily symptoms. Perceived academic competence was related to worry and tension. Parental pressure was associated with stronger worry and test-irrelevant thinking components directly, and with a stronger bodily symptoms component indirectly through a performance-approach goal. Teachers' performance-avoidance goals were related to worry, tension, and bodily symptoms indirectly through personal performance-avoidance goals, and in the case of bodily symptoms additionally through a performance-approach goal. Conclusion Findings provide partial support for the self-regulatory model of test anxiety suggesting that additional routes are required to account for the role of parental pressure and teachers' performance-avoidance goals and a re-examination of the relationship between test anxiety and achievement goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-160
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


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