Although there has been an increasing amount of research conducted on test anxiety in adolescence, little is known about the relation of test anxiety and school engagement. The current study addresses this gap by focusing on the potential gender-specific interplay of test anxiety and school engagement among adolescents, testing the role of parental support and parental pressure as mediators in this association. We performed latent multigroup structural equation modeling on a sample of 7th and 8th graders (N = 1088; M Age = 13.7 years; SD = .53) in secondary schools in Brandenburg, Germany. The results suggest that there are gender differences in the interplay of test anxiety, perceived socio-academic parental support and pressure, and school engagement. Whereas girls’ school engagement is more centered on the mother figure, for boys both parents seem to play an essential role concerning their school engagement as well as test anxiety.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aiken, L. S., Stein, J. A., & Bentler, P. M. (1994). Structural equation analyses of clinical subpopulation differences and comparative treatment outcomes: Characterizing the daily lives of drug addicts. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 488–499. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.62.3.488.
Alpert, R., & Haber, R. N. (1960). Anxiety in academic achievement situations. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 10, 207–215. doi:10.1037/h0045464.
Asparouhov, T. (2005). Sampling weights in latent variable modeling. Structural Equation Modeling, 12, 37–41. doi:10.1073/pnas.0910967107.
Azzam, A. (2008). Engaged and on track. Educational Leadership, 65(6), 93–95.
Bedard, K., & Cho, I. (2010). Early gender test score gaps across OECD countries. Economics of Education Review, 29, 348–363. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2009.10.015.
Bembenutty, H. (2007). Self-regulation of learning and academic delay of gratification: Gender and ethnic differences among college students. Journal of Advanced Academics, 18, 586–616. doi:10.4219/jaa-2007-553.
Berndt, T. J., & Miller, K. E. (1990). Expectancies, values, and achievement in junior high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 319–326. doi:10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1999.
Besharat, M. A. (2003). Parental perfectionism and children’s test anxiety. Psychological Reports, 93, 1049–1055. doi:10.2466/PR0.93.8.1049-1055.
Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Bowen, G. L., Rose, R. A., Powers, J. D., & Glennie, E. J. (2008). The joint effects of neighborhoods, schools, peers, and families on change in the school success of middle school students. Family Relations, 57, 504–516. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00518.x.
Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis. New York, NY: Guilford.
Bryan, A., Schmiege, S. J., & Broaddus, M. R. (2007). Mediational analysis in HIV/AIDS research: Estimating multivariate path analytic models in a structural equation modeling framework. AIDS and Behavior, 11, 365–383. doi:10.1007/s10461-006-9150-2.
Cassady, J. C., & Johnson, R. E. (2002). Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 270–295. doi:10.1006/ceps.2001.1094.
Chan, D. (2009). So why ask me? Are self-report data really that bad? In C. E. Lance & R. J. Vandenberg (Eds.), Statistical and methodological myths and urban legends (pp. 309–336). New York, NY: Routledge.
Cheung, C. S., & Pomerantz, E. M. (2011). Parents’ involvement in children’s learning in the United States and China: Implications for children’s academic and emotional functioning. Child Development, 82, 932–950. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01582.x.
Christenson, S. L., & Sheridan, S. M. (2001). School and families: Creating essential connections for learning. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Davis, M. C., Burleson, M. H., & Kruszewski, D. M. (2011). Gender: Its relationship to stressor exposure, cognitive appraisal, coping processes, stress responses, and health outcomes. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 247–267). New York, NY: Springer.
di Maria, F., & di Nuovo, S. (1990). Gender differences in social and test anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 11, 525–530. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(90)90066-Z.
Dimitrov, D. M. (2006). Comparing groups on latent variables: A structural equation modeling approach. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 26, 429–436.
Dotterer, A. M., & Lowe, K. (2011). Classroom context, school engagement, and academic achievement in early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1649–1660. doi:10.1007/s10964-011-9647-5.
Dusek, J. B., & Danko, M. (1994). Adolescent coping style and perceptions of parental child rearing. Journal of Adolescent Research, 9, 412–426. doi:10.1177/074355489494002.
Eccles, J. S. (2007). Families, schools, and developing achievement-related motivations and engagement. In J. E. Grusec & P. D. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization: Theory and research (pp. 665–691). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Eccles, J. S. (2009). Who am I and what am I going to do with my life? Personal and collective identities as motivators of action. Educational Psychologist, 44, 78–89. doi:10.1080/00461520902832368.
Eccles, J. S., & Roeser, R. W. (2009). Schools, academic motivation, and stage-environment fit. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinber (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 404–434). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Egan, S. K., & Perry, D. G. (2001). Gender identity: A multidimensional analysis with implications for psychosocial adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 37, 451–463. doi:10.1037/0012-16188.8.131.521.
Elliot, A. J., & McGregor, H. A. (1999). Test anxiety and the hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 628–644. doi:10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2068.
Englund, M. M., Egeland, B., & Collings, W. A. (2008). Exceptions to high school dropout predictions in a low-income sample: Do adults make a difference. Journal of Social Issues, 64, 77–93. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2008.00549.x.
Epstein, J. L. (1995). School/family/community partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 702–712. doi:10.1177/003172171009200326.
Fall, A., & Roberts, G. (2012). High school dropouts: Interactions between social context, self-perceptions, school engagement, and student dropout. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 787–798. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.11.004.
Finlay, K. A., & Heilbrunn, J. Z. (2006). Re-engaging youth in school evaluation of model demonstration truancy programs (Final evaluation report: Gulfton truancy reduction demonstration project, Houston, TX). Denver, CO: National Center for School Engagement, The Colorado Foundation for Families and Children.
Finn, J. D., & Voelkl, K. E. (1993). School characteristics related to school engagement. Journal of Negro Education, 62, 249–268. doi:10.2307/2295464.
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59–109. doi:10.3102/00346543074001059.
Ginsburg, G. S., & Bronstein, P. (1993). Family factors related to children’s intrinsic/extrinsic motivational orientation and academic performance. Child Development, 64, 1461–1474. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1993.tb02964.x.
Greco, L. A., & Morris, T. L. (2002). Parental child-rearing style and child social anxiety: Investigation of child perceptions and actual father behavior. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 24, 259–267. doi:10.1023/A:1020779000183.
Hembree, R. (1988). Correlates, causes, and treatment of test anxiety. Review of Educational Research, 58, 47–77. doi:10.3102/00346543058001047.
Hock, M. (1992). Exchange of aversive communicative acts between mother and child as related to perceived child-rearing practices and anxiety of the child. In K. Hagtvet & T. Johnsen (Eds.), Advances in test anxiety research (Vol. 7, pp. 156–174). Amsterdam: Swets and Zeitlinger.
Hoferichter, F., & Raufelder, D. (2013). Examining the role of social relationships in the association between neuroticism and test anxiety—Results from a study with German secondary school students. Educational Psychology. doi:10.1080/01443410.2013.849326.
Holmlund, H., & Krister, S. (2008). Is the gender gap in school performance affected by the sex of the teacher? Labour Economics, 15, 37–53. doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2006.12.002.
Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structural analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118.
Levpušček, M. P., & Zupančič, M. (2009). Math achievement in early adolescence: The role of parental involvement, teacher’s behavior, and students’ motivational beliefs about math. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 29, 541–570. doi:10.1177/0272431608324189.
Levpušček, M. P., Zupančič, M., & Sočan, G. (2012). Predicting achievement in mathematics in adolescent students: The role of individual and social factors. Journal of Early Adolescence, 33, 523–551. doi:10.1177/0272431612450949.
Li, Y., & Lerner, R. M. (2011). Trajectories of school engagement during adolescence: Implications for grades, depression, delinquency, and substance use. Developmental Psychology, 47, 233–247. doi:10.1037/a0021307.
Luis, T. M., Varela, R. E., & Moore, K. W. (2008). Parenting practices and childhood anxiety reporting in Mexican, Mexican American, and European American families. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 1011–1020. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.11.001.
Lytton, H., & Romney, D. M. (1991). Parents’ differential socialization of boys and girls: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 267–296. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.109.2.267.
Macher, D., Paechter, M., Papousek, I., & Ruggeri, K. (2012). Statistics anxiety, trait anxiety, learning behavior, and academic performance. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 27, 483–498. doi:10.1007/s10212-011-0090-5.
MacKinnon, D. P. (2008). Introduction to statistical mediation analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Marcia, J. (1980). Identity in adolescence. In J. Adelson (Ed.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 159–187). New York, NY: Wiley.
Martin, K. A. (1996). Puberty, sexuality, and the self: Girls and boys at adolescence. New York, NY: Routledge.
Martin, A. J. (2001). The Student Motivation Scale: A tool for measuring and enhancing motivation. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 11(1), 1–20.
Murray, C. (2009). Parent and teacher relationships as predictors of school engagement and functioning among low-income urban youth. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 29, 376–404. doi:10.1177/0272431608322940.
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2013). Mplus user’s guide (7th edn). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.
Nawrotzki, K. D. (2012). Parent–school relations in England and the USA: Partnership, problematized. In M. Richter & S. Andresen (Eds.), The politicization of parenthood: Shifting private and public responsibilities in education and child rearing (pp. 69–83). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.
Peleg-Popko, O., & Klingman, A. (2002). Family environment, discrepencies between perceived actual and desirable environment, and children’s test and trait anxiety. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 30, 451–466. doi:10.1080/0306988021000025646.
Perdue, O., & Spielberger, C. D. (1966). Anxiety and the perception of punishment. Mental Hygiene, 50, 390–397.
Petermann, F., & Winkel, S. (2007). FLM 7-13 Fragebogen zur Leistungsmotivation für Schüler der 7. bis 13. Klasse [FLM 7-13 Questionnaire of achievement motivation for students from 7th to 13th grade] (Vol. 2007). Frankfurt a.M: Harcourt.
Pomerantz, E. M., Altermatt, E. R., & Saxon, J. L. (2002). Making the grade but feeling distressed: Gender differences in academic performance and internal distress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 396–404. doi:10.1037/0022-06220.127.116.116.
Putwain, D. W., Woods, K. A., & Symes, W. (2009). Do teachers and parents influence a students’ tendency to perceive examinations as threatening?. Manchester: Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association.
Putwain, D. W., Woods, K. A., & Symes, W. (2010). Personal and situational predictors of test anxiety of students in post compulsory education. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 137–160. doi:10.1348/000709909X466082.
Reitzle, M., Metzke, C. W., & Steinhausen, H.-C. (2001). Eltern und Kinder: Der Zürcher Kurzfragebogen zum Erziehungsverhalten (ZKE). [Parents and children: The Zürich Questionnaire of educational behavior (ZKE)]. Diagnostica, 47, 196–207. doi:10.1026//0012-1918.104.22.168.
Richards, A., French, C. C., Calder, A. J., Webb, B., Fox, R., & Young, A. W. (2002). Anxiety-related bias in the classification of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions. Emotion, 2, 273–287. doi:10.1037//1528-3522.214.171.1243.
Rost, D. H., & Schermer, F. J. (2006). Leistungsängstlichkeit. [Test anxiety]. In D. H. Rost (Ed.), Handwörterbuch Pädagogische Psychologie (pp. 404–415). Weinheim: Psychologie Verlags Union.
Rueger, S. U., Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2010). Relationship between multiple sources of perceived social support and psychological and academic adjustment in early adolescence: Comparisons across gender. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 47–61. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9368-6.
Salmela-Aro, K., & Upadyaya, K. (2014). School burnout and engagement in the context of demands-resources model. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(1), 137–151. doi:10.1111/bjep.12018.
Sarason, I. G. (1984). Stress, anxiety, and cognitive interference: Reactions to Tests. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 929–938. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1999.
Satorra, A., & Bentler, P. M. (2001). A scaled difference Chi square test statistic for moment structure analysis. Psychometrika, 66, 507–514. doi:10.1007/BF02296192.
Shadach, E., & Ganor-Miller, O. (2013). The role of perceived parental over-involvement in student test anxiety. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28, 585–596. doi:10.1007/s10212-012-0131-8.
Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7, 422–445. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.7.4.422.
Simons-Morton, B., & Chen, R. (2009). Peer and parent influences on school engagement among early adolescents. Youth & Society, 41, 3–25. doi:10.1177/0044118X09334861.
Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic? Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, 765–781. doi:10.1037/a0012840.
Tobin, D. D., Menon, M., Menon, M., Perle, J. G., & Perry, D. G. (2007). Attachment and gender identity in middle childhood. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, MA.
Tobin, D. D., Menon, M., Menon, M., Spatta, B. C., Hodges, E. V. E., & Perry, D. G. (2010). The intrapsychics of gender: A model of self-socialization. Psychological Review, 117, 601–622. doi:10.1037/a0018936.
Toren, N. K. (2013). Multiple dimensions of parental involvement and its links to young adolescent self-evaluation and academic achievement. Psychology in Schools, 50, 634–649. doi:10.1002/pits.
Turner, B. G., Beidel, D. C., Hughes, S., & Turner, M. W. (1993). Test anxiety in African American school children. School Psychology Quarterly, 8, 140–152. doi:10.1016/0887-6185(94)90014-0.
Upadyaya, K., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2013). Development of school engagement in association with academic success and well-being in varying social contexts. European Psychologist, 18, 136–147. doi:10.1027/1016-9040/a000143.
Vitoroulis, I., Schneider, B., Vasquez, C. C., del Pilar Soteras de Toro, M., & Gonzáles, Y. (2012). Perceived parental and peer support in relation to Canadian, Cuban, and Spanish adolescents’ valuing of academics and intrinsic academic motivation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43, 704–722. doi:10.1177/0022022111405657.
Wang, M. T., & Eccles, J. S. (2012). Social support matters: Longitudinal effects of social support on three dimensions of school engagement from middle to high school. Child Development, 83, 877–895. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01745.x.
Wang, J., & Wang, X. (2012). Structural equation modeling: Applications using mplus. Chichester: Wiley.
Wang, M. T., Willett, J. B., & Eccles, J. S. (2011). The assessment of school engagement: Examining dimensionality and measurement invariance across gender and race/ethnicity. Journal of School Psychology, 49, 465–480. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2011.04.001.
Wharton, A. S. (2009). The sociology of gender: An introduction to theory and research. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Willis, M. L., Dodd, H. F., & Palermo, R. (2013). The relationship between anxiety and the social judgements of approachability and trustworthiness. PLoS One, 8(10), e76825. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076825.
Woolley, M. E., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2006). Protective family factors in the context of neighborhood: Promoting positive school outcomes. Family Relations, 55, 93–104. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00359.x.
Ya’ari, O. (1998). Test anxiety. Tel Aviv University, Israel: Dionon Press.
Yerkes, R. M., & Dodson, J. D. (1908). The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit-formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18, 459–482. doi:10.1002/cne.920180503.
Yuan, K.-H., & Bentler, P. M. (2004). On Chi square difference and z-tests in mean and covariance structure analysis when the base model is misspecified. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64, 737–757. doi:10.1177/0013164404264853.
The research reported in this paper was supported by a grant from The Volkswagen Foundation (Schumpeter Fellowship II/84 452). The authors would like to thank the principals, teachers and students for their cooperation in making these studies possible.
About this article
Cite this article
Raufelder, D., Hoferichter, F., Ringeisen, T. et al. The Perceived Role of Parental Support and Pressure in the Interplay of Test Anxiety and School Engagement Among Adolescents: Evidence for Gender-Specific Relations. J Child Fam Stud 24, 3742–3756 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0182-y
- Test anxiety
- Parental support
- Parental pressure
- School engagement
- Gender differences