FACILITATIVE EFFECTS OF ANXIETY ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: A BROADER PERSPECTIVE (DEBILITATIVE, SEX, GRADE-POINT AVERAGE)

THEODORE J CHAPIN, Marquette University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to specify and clarify the effects of sex, aptitude, manifest anxiety and academic performance on student's experience of anxiety. It investigated anxiety's facilitative and debilitative effects across two levels of sex (male, female), three levels of manifest anxiety (high, medium and low) and three levels of performance (high, medium and low), while controlling for the effects of aptitude. With such a design Kiesler's (1966) uniformity myth was avoided. Subjects consisted of ninety-three male and seventy-three female, full time, caucasian, college sophomores living in resident halls at a small university. Each subject completed the Manifest Anxiety Scale (Taylor, 1953) and the Achievement Anxiety Test (Alpert and Haber, 1960). They also gave permission for the registrar to release their cumulative grade point average and Scholastic Aptitude Test score. Subjects were then assigned to high, medium and low conditions of manifest anxiety and grade point average based upon their rank ordered position, 33 1/3 percent of the sample in each condition. Using a 2 x 3 x 3, fixed effects analysis of covariance, differences in facilitative and debilitative anxiety were analyzed. The analysis of covariance yielded significant main effects for manifest anxiety and academic performance on both facilitative and debilitative anxiety. There were no significant differences for sex or any of the possible first order interactions. Although the second order interaction involving sex was statistically significant the results were seen as spurious due to lack of sufficient N in experimental conditions. No conclusions were drawn from this result. Statistically significant relationships were further analyzed using a Student's t test. It was found that those students whose manifest anxiety was high experienced more debilitative than facilitative anxiety. Those students whose manifest anxiety was medium or low experienced more facilitative than debilitative anxiety. Further, regarding academic performance, those students whose academic performance was high experienced more facilitative than debilitative anxiety. Those students whose performance was medium experienced similar amounts of facilitative and debilitative anxiety. Finally, those students whose academic performance was low experienced more debilitative than facilitative anxiety. The results of this study were then compared to existing research and a program to identify students at potential risk was proposed. It was concluded that following Kiesler's (1966) prescription to avoid the uniformity myth does yield a better understanding of the anxious student's experience.

Recommended Citation

THEODORE J CHAPIN, "FACILITATIVE EFFECTS OF ANXIETY ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: A BROADER PERSPECTIVE (DEBILITATIVE, SEX, GRADE-POINT AVERAGE)" (January 1, 1984). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8502585.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8502585

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