The development of a scale to measure teachers’ use of fear appeals in the classroom

Dave Putwain

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


A large international literature has established how different aspects of classroom environment influence student learning and motivation, including the development of reliable instruments with which to measure classroom environments (Fraser, 1998). Two recent studies identified teachers' use of fear appeals as an important aspect of the classroom environment (Putwain, in press; Sprinkle et al., 2006), however at present there are no measures available. This paper describes the initial development of a measure of students' perceptions of teachers' use of fear appeals in the context of the GCSE examination (TFAQ). A construct validation approach was employed, the first stage of which is to define and measure constructs. Self-report items were developed on both theoretical models of anxiety (Endler, 1988; Zeidner, 1998) and empirical observations of how GCSE students perceive the use of teachers fear appeals (Putwain, in press). The questionnaire was completed by 200 GCSE students, sampled from 4 secondary schools, in Years 10 and 11 (the final two years of compulsory education). A principal components analysis extracted three factors with Eigen values > 1.00 accounting for 56% of the variance corresponding to threat, frequency and reassurance/ timing. No factors cross loaded at >.4, however only the first of these factors displayed an adequate reliability coefficient (a >.7). In conclusion, the first version of the TFAQ revealed a clear factor structure, but only one reliable scale. Refinement of this scale is clearly needed. The next stage of this project will be to review and rewrite items to improve reliability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Education Section Conference - Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Nov 200711 Nov 2007


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Education Section Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'The development of a scale to measure teachers’ use of fear appeals in the classroom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this