Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 249–259 | Cite as

Decoupling the Effects of Wayfinding Competence, Trait-Anxiety and Subjective Well-Being from a GESIS German Sample

  • Kevin H. C. ChengEmail author


The study examines how wayfinding competence coupled with predisposed trait-anxiety can produce negative daily experience in individuals’ subjective well-being. The GESIS granted the permission to test this hypothesis using a sample of 7599 residents in Germany. A measure of wayfinding competence is based on the German Questionnaire of Spatial Strategies (GQSS). Trait-Anxiety is measured by a sub-domain of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Subjective well-being is an operationalization of the construct devised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In a hierarchical regression model, where demographic and other socio-economic variables are held constant, a mediating model linking the effect of wayfinding competence, trait-anxiety and subjective well-being were assessed. The data supports a direct and a mediated effect of wayfinding competence on subjective well-being via trait-anxiety. The mediating effect for the older age group was prominent.


Wayfinding Trait anxiety Subjective well-being GESIS 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This manuscript involves human participants research based on data collected by the GESIS. The GESIS was designed to comport with ethical standards for social research.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.


  1. Andersson, J. E. (2015). Architecture and the Swedish welfare state: Three architectural competitions that innovated space for dependent and frail older people. Ageing and Society, 35, 837–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  4. Biddle, S. J., Bennie, J. A., Bauman, A. E., Chau, J. Y., Dunstan, D., Owen, N., et al. (2016). Too much sitting and all-cause mortality: is there a causal link? BMC Public Health, 16(1), 635–644.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brockmole, J. R., & Logie, R. H. (2013). Age-related change in visual working memory: A study of 55,753 participants aged 8–75. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 12–16.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1999). Themes and issues in the self-regulation of behavior. Advances in social cognition, 12(1), 1.Google Scholar
  7. Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A., Lonczak, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591(1), 98–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1980). Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective well-being: happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38(4), 668–678.Google Scholar
  9. Czaja, S. J. (2016). Long-term care services and support systems for older adults: The role of technology. American Psychologist, 71(4), 294–301.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DePaoli, L. C., & Sweeney, D. C. (2000). Further validation of the positive and negative affect schedule. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(4), 56–568.Google Scholar
  11. Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1984). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47(5), 1105–1117.Google Scholar
  12. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Driscoll, I., Davatzikos, C., An, Y., Wu, X., Shen, D., Kraut, M., & Resnick, S. M. (2009). Longitudinal pattern of regional brain volume change differentiates normal aging from MCI. Neurology, 72(22), 1906–1913.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Egloff, B., Schmukle, S. C., Burns, L. R., Kohlmann, C. W., & Hock, M. (2003). Facets of dynamic positive affect: Differentiating joy, interest, and activation in the positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 528.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans, G. W. (1980). Environmental cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 259–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fleming, R., Goodenough, B., Low, L. F., Chenoweth, L., & Brodaty, H. (2016). The relationship between the quality of the built environment and the quality of life of people with dementia in residential care. Dementia, 15(4), 663–680.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fornara, F., & Manca, S. (2017). Healthy residential environments for the elderly. In Handbook of environmental psychology and quality of life research (pp. 441–465). Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-31416-7_24.
  18. Frazier, P. A., Tix, A. P., & Barron, K. E. (2004). Testing moderator and mediator effects in counseling psychology research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51(1), 115–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gärling, T and Golledge, RG. 1989. Environmental perception and cognition, in advances in environment, behavior, and design, volume 2, Springer US, pp 203–236.Google Scholar
  20. Head, D., & Isom, M. (2010). Age effects on wayfinding and route learning skills. Behavioural Brain Research, 209(1), 49–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hegarty, M., Richardson, A. E., Montello, D. R., Lovelace, K., & Subbiah, I. (2002). Development of a self-report measure of environmental spatial ability. Intelligence, 30(5), 425–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jerusalem, M., & Schwarzer, R. (1992). Self-efficacy as a resource factor in stress appraisal processes. In R. Schwarzer (Ed.), Self-efficacy: Thought control of action (pp. 195–213). Washington: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  23. Johnson, S. J., Batey, M., & Holdsworth, L. (2009). Personality and health: The mediating role of trait emotional intelligence and work locus of control. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(5), 470–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Judge, T. A., & Ilies, R. (2002). Relationship of personality to performance motivation: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 797.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Judge, T. A., Locke, E. A., Durham, C. C., & Kluger, A. N. (1998). Dispositional effects on job and life satisfaction: The role of core evaluations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(1), 17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D., Judge, T. A., & Scott, B. A. (2009). The role of core self-evaluations in the coping process. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 177.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Krohne, H. W., Egloff, B., Kohlmann, C. W., & Tausch, A. (1996). Investigations with a German version of the positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS). Diagnostica, 42, 139–156.Google Scholar
  28. Lawton, C. A. (1996). Strategies for indoor way-finding: The role of orientation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16, 137–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lawton, C. A. (2010). “Gender, spatial abilities, and wayfinding,” in Handbook of Gender Research in Psychology, Vol 1: Gender Research in General and Experimental Psychology, eds J. C. Chrisler, D. R. McCreary, J. C. Chrisler, D. R. McCreary (New York: Springer Science Business Media), 317–341.Google Scholar
  30. Leue, A., & Beauducel, A. (2011). The PANAS structure revisited: On the validity of a bifactor model in community and forensic samples. Psychological Assessment, 23(1), 215.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Linn, M. C., & Petersen, A. C. (1985). Emergence and characterization of sex diVerences in spatial ability: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 56, 1479–1498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Luszczynska, A., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). The general self-efficacy scale: Multicultural validation studies. The Journal of Psychology, 139(5), 439–457.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McAuley, E., Konopack, J. F., Morris, K. S., Motl, R. W., Hu, L., Doerksen, S. E., & Rosengren, K. (2006). Physical activity and functional limitations in older women: Influence of self-efficacy. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61(5), 270–P277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McAuley, E., Morris, K. S., Doerksen, S. E., Motl, R. W., Liang, H., White, S. M., et al. (2007). Effects of Change in Physical Activity on Physical Function Limitations in Older Women: Mediating Roles of Physical Function Performance and Self-Efficacy. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55(12), 1967–1973.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McGregor, I., & Little, B. R. (1998). Personal projects, happiness, and meaning: On doing well and being yourself. Journal of personality and social psychology, 74(2), 494.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Melvin, G. A., & Molloy, G. N. (2000). Some psychometric properties of the positive and negative affect schedule among Australian youth. Psychological Reports, 86, 1209–1212.Google Scholar
  37. Mikolajczak, M., Menil, C., & Luminet, O. (2007). Explaining the protective effect of trait emotional intelligence regarding occupational stress: Exploration of emotional labour processes. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(5), 1107–1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Münzer, S., & Hölscher, C. (2011). Entwicklung und Validierung eines Fragebogens zu räumlichen Strategien. Diagnostica, 57(3), 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  40. Onder, G., Penninx, B. W., Ferrucci, L., Fried, L. P., Guralnik, J. M., & Pahor, M. (2005). Measures of physical performance and risk for progressive and catastrophic disability: Results from the Women's health and aging study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(1), 74–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osborne, J. W., & Waters, E. (2002). Four assumptions of multiple regression that researchers should always test. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 8(2) Retrieved from
  42. Pamplona, F. A., Henes, K., Micale, V., Mauch, C. P., Takahashi, R. N., & Wotjak, C. T. (2011). Prolonged fear incubation leads to generalized avoidance behavior in mice. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(3), 354–360.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2006). Moral competence and character strengths among adolescents: The development and validation of the values in action inventory of strengths for youth. Journal of Adolescence, 29(6), 891–909.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Paterson, D. H., Govindasamy, D., Vidmar, M., Cunningham, D. A., & Koval, J. J. (2004). Longitudinal study of determinants of dependence in an elderly population. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52(10), 1632–1638.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pierce, J. L., & Gardner, D. G. (2004). Self-esteem within the work and organizational context: A review of the organization-based self-esteem literature. Journal of Management, 30(5), 591–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pollack, W. S. (2006). The" war" for boys: Hearing" real boys'" voices, healing their pain. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37(2), 190–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Raz, N., Lindenberger, U., Rodrigue, K. M., Kennedy, K. M., Head, D., Williamson, A., et al. (2005). Regional brain changes in aging healthy adults: General trends, individual differences and modifiers. Cerebral Cortex, 15(11), 1676–1689.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rejeski, W. J., & Mihalko, S. L. (2001). Physical activity and quality of life in older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 56(suppl 2), 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Russel, J. A., & Ward, L. M. (1982). Environmental psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 651–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Salcioglu, E., Urhan, S., Pirinccioglu, T., & Aydin, S. (2017). Anticipatory fear and helplessness predict PTSD and depression in domestic violence survivors. Psychological trauma: theory, research, practice, and policy, 9(1), 117–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the life orientation test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(6), 1063.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sheehan, B., Burton, E., & Mitchell, L. (2006). Outdoor wayfinding in dementia. Dementia, 5(2), 271–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Smith, C., Exton, C. (2013). OECD guidelines for measuring subjective well-being [online]. OECD better life initiative. http://www.Oecd.Org/statistics/guidelines%20on%20Measuring%20Subjective %20Well-being.Pdf.
  54. Streeter, L. A., Vitello, D., & Wonsiewicz, S. A. (1985). How to tell people where to go: Comparing navigational aids. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 22(5), 549–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Strobel, M., Tumasjan, A., & Spörrle, M. (2011). Be yourself, believe in yourself, and be happy: Self-efficacy as a mediator between personality factors and subjective well-being. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52(1), 43–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stuifbergen, A. K., Blozis, S. A., Harrison, T. C., & Becker, H. A. (2006). Exercise, functional limitations, and quality of life: A longitudinal study of persons with multiple sclerosis. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 87(7), 935–943.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Takeuchi, Y. (1992). Sense of direction and its relationship with geographical orientation, personality traits and mental ability. Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology, 40, 47–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tellegen, A. (1985). Structures of mood and personality and their relevance to assessing anxiety, with an emphasis on self-report. In A. H. Tuma & J. Maser (Eds.), Anxiety and the anxiety disorders (pp. 681–706). New Jersey: Lawerence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  59. Thorndyke, P. W., & Hayes-Roth, B. (1982). Differences in spatial knowledge acquired from maps and navigation. Cognitive Psychology, 12, 137–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Van Uffelen, J. G., van Gellecum, Y. R., Burton, N. W., Peeters, G., Heesch, K. C., & Brown, W. J. (2013). Sitting-time, physical activity, and depressive symptoms in mid-aged women. American journal of preventive medicine, 45(3), 276–281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Voyer, D., Voyer, S., & Bryden, M. P. (1995). Magnitude of sex differences in spatial abilities: A meta-analysis and consideration of critical variables. Psychological Bulletin, 117(2), 250.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1984). Negative affectivity: the disposition to experience aversive emotional states. Psychological Bulletin, 96(3), 465–490.Google Scholar
  63. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1992). On traits and temperament: general and specific factors of emotional experience and their relation to the five-factor model. Journal of Personality, 60(2), 441–476.Google Scholar
  64. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Watson, D., & Tellegen, A. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 219–235.Google Scholar
  66. Weber, M., Ruch, W., Littman-Ovadia, H., Lavy, S., & Gai, O. (2013). Relationships among higher-order strengths factors, subjective well-being, and general self-efficacy–the case of Israeli adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(3), 322–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilson, R. S., Boyle, P. A., Segawa, E., Yu, L., Begeny, C. T., Anagnos, S. E., & Bennett, D. A. (2013). The influence of cognitive decline on well-being in old age. Psychology and Aging, 28(2), 304–313.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yik, M. S., Russell, J. A., Oceja, L. V., & Dols, J. M. F. (2000). Momentary affect in Spanish: scales, structure, and relationship to personality. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 16(3), 160–176.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Innushuk ConsultSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations