Advertisement

Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 43–61 | Cite as

Social and personal predictors of test anxiety among Norwegian secondary and postsecondary students

  • Christian Brandmo
  • Ivar BråtenEmail author
  • Olav Schewe
Article

Abstract

This study examined predictors of test anxiety in a sample of 2528 Norwegian upper-secondary and postsecondary students by means of structural equation modeling. Results showed that personal goals related to career and grades positively predicted test anxiety, whereas self-efficacy beliefs were a negative predictor of test anxiety. In turn, participants’ personal goals and self-efficacy beliefs were predicted by perceived family expectation and gender and, thus, mediated the effects of those variables on test anxiety. Specifically, academic expectations from students’ families had an indirect positive effect on test anxiety mediated by career goal and an indirect negative effect on test anxiety mediated by self-efficacy beliefs, and gender indirectly affected test anxiety through self-efficacy beliefs (with females displaying lower self-efficacy beliefs than males). Finally, both family expectation and gender also had direct effects on test anxiety. The unique contribution of this large scale study is highlighted and theoretical and educational implications are discussed.

Keywords

Test anxiety Family expectation Gender Personal goals Self-efficacy beliefs 

References

  1. Agliata, K. A., & Renk, K. (2009). College students’ affective distress: The role of expectation discrepancies and communication. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 396–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  3. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bentler, P. M., & Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 588–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Besharat, M. A. (2003). Parental perfectionism and children’s test anxiety. Psychological Reports, 93, 1049–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boekaerts, M. (2009). Goal-directed behavior in the classroom. In K. R. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school (pp. 105–122). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Bowers, E. P., Gestsdottir, S., Geldhof, G. J., Nikitin, J., von Eye, A., & Lerner, R. M. (2011). Developmental trajectories of intentional self-regulation in adolescence: The role of parenting and implications for positive and problematic outcomes among diverse youth. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 1193–1206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brady, S. T., Martin Hard, B., & Gross, J. J. (2018). Reappraising test anxiety increases academic performance of first-year college students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110, 395–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bråten, I., & Olaussen, B. S. (1998). The learning and study strategies of Norwegian first-year college students. Learning and Individual Differences, 10, 309–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bråten, I., & Olaussen, B. S. (2000). Motivation in college: Understanding Norwegian college students’ performance on the LASSI Motivation subscale and their beliefs about academic motivation. Learning and Individual Differences, 12, 177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, T. A. (2015). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  12. Cassady, J. C. (2004). The influence of cognitive test anxiety across the learning–testing cycle. Learning and Instruction, 14, 569–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diaconu-Gherasim, L. R., & Măirean, C. (2016). Perception of parenting styles and academic achievement: The mediating role of goal orientations. Learning and Individual Differences, 49, 378–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Drach-Zahavy, A., & Erez, M. (2002). Challenge versus threat effects on the goal–performance relationship. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 88, 667–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eccles, J. S. (2007). Families, schools, and developing achievement-related motivation and engagement. In J. E. Grusec & P. D. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization: Theory and research (pp. 665–691). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  16. Else-Quest, N. M., Higgins, A., Allison, C., & Morton, L. C. (2012). Gender differences in self-conscious emotional experience: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 947–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Erzen, E., & Odacı, H. (2016). The effect of the attachment styles and self-efficacy of adolescents preparing for university entrance tests in Turkey on predicting test anxiety. Educational Psychology, 36, 1728–1741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1985). If it changes it must be a process: Study of emotion and coping during three stages of a college examination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 150–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Froiland, J. M., & Davison, M. L. (2014). Parental expectations and school relationships as contributors to adolescents’ positive outcomes. Social Psychology of Education, 17, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gogol, K., Brunner, M., Goetz, T., Martin, R., Ugen, S., Keller, U., et al. (2014). “My questionnaire is too long!” The assessment of motivational-affective constructs with three-item and single-item measures. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 188–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grolnick, W. S., Friendly, R. W., & Bellas, V. M. (2009). Parenting and children’s motivation at school. In K. R. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school (pp. 280–300). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Gugiu, C., & Gugiu, M. (2018). Determining the minimum reliability standard based on a decision criterion. Journal of Experimental Education, 86, 458–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hagtvet, K. A. (1983). A measurement study of test anxiety emphasizing its evaluative context. In S. H. Irvine & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Human assessment and cultural factors (pp. 393–405). Boston, MA: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hagtvet, K. A., Man, F., & Sharma, S. (2001). Generalizability of self-related cognitions in test anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 1147–1171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hembree, R. (1988). Correlates, causes, effects, and treatment of test anxiety. Review of Educational Research, 58, 47–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1998). Fit indices in covariance structure modeling: Sensitivity to underparameterized model misspecification. Psychological Methods, 3, 424–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jacobs, J. E., Chhin, C. S., & Bleeker, M. M. (2006). Enduring links: Parents’ expectations and their young adult children’s gender-typed occupational choices. Educational Research and Evaluation, 12, 395–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jodl, K. M., Michael, A., Malanchuk, O., Eccles, J. S., & Sameroff, A. (2001). Parents’ roles in shaping early adolescents’ occupational aspirations. Child Development, 72, 1247–1265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Juang, L. P., & Silbereisen, R. K. (2002). The relationship between adolescent academic capability beliefs, parenting, and school grades. Journal of Adolescence, 25, 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kerlinger, F. N., & Lee, H. B. (2000). Foundations of behavioral research (4th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45, 79–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Luszczynska, A., Benight, C. C., & Cieslak, R. (2009). Self-efficacy and health-related outcomes of collective trauma. European Psychologist, 14, 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marsh, H. W., Hau, K. T., & Wen, Z. (2004). In search of golden rules: Comment on hypothesis-testing approaches to setting cutoff values for fit indexes and dangers in overgeneralizing Hu and Bentler’s (1999) findings. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 11, 320–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maxwell, S. E. (2004). The persistence of underpowered studies in psychological research: Causes, consequences, and remedies. Psychological Methods, 9, 145–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McKeachie, W. J. (1951). Anxiety in the college classroom. The Journal of Educational Research, 45, 153–160.Google Scholar
  37. Michaels, E., Handfield-Jones, H., & Axelrod, B. (2001). The war for talent. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.Google Scholar
  38. Moos, R. H., & Moos, B. S. (1986). Family Environment Scale manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  39. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. (2012). Mplus user’s guide Version 7. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  40. Naumann, L. P., Guillaume, E. M., & Funder, D. C. (2012). The correlates of high perceived parental academic expectations: An Asian-Latino comparison. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43, 515–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nichols, S. L., & Berliner, D. C. (2007). Collateral damage: How high-stakes testing corrupts America’s schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  42. OECD. (2013). Trends shaping education 2013. Paris: OECD Publishing.  https://doi.org/10.1787/trends_edu-2013-en.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Olson, D. H., Russell, C. S., & Sprenkle, D. H. (1983). Circumplex model of marital and family systems: Cohesion and adaptability dimensions, family types, and clinical applications. Family Process, 18, 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Osbourne, J. W. (2006). Gender, stereotype threat, and anxiety: Psychophysiological and cognitive evidence. Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 8, 109–138.Google Scholar
  45. Pekrun, R. (2006). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: Assumptions, corollaries, and implications for educational research and practice. Educational Psychology Review, 18, 315–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Peleg, O., Deutch, C., & Dan, O. (2016). Test anxiety among female college students and its relation to perceived parental academic expectations and differentiation of self. Learning and Individual Differences, 49, 428–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Peleg, O., Klingman, A., & Abu-Hana Nahhas, I. (2003). Cross-cultural and familial differences between Arab and Jewish adolescents in test anxiety. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 525–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Peleg-Popko, O. (2002). Children’s test anxiety and family interaction patterns. Anxiety Stress and Coping, 15, 45–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Peleg-Popko, O., & Klingman, A. (2002). Family environment, discrepancies between perceived actual and desirable environment, and children’s test and trait anxiety. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 30, 451–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A. F., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1993). Reliability and predictive validity of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53, 801–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pomerantz, E. M., Grolnick, W. S., & Price, C. E. (2005). The role of parents in how children approach achievement: A dynamic process perspective. In A. J. Elliot & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Handbook of competence and motivation (pp. 259–278). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  52. Putwain, D. W. (2008). Test anxiety and GCSE performance: The effect of gender and socio- economic background. Educational Psychology in Practice, 24, 319–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Putwain, D., & Daly, A. L. (2014). Test anxiety prevalence and gender differences in a sample of English secondary school students. Educational Studies, 40, 554–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ringeisen, T., & Raufelder, D. (2015). The interplay of parental support, parental pressure and test anxiety: Gender differences in adolescents. Journal of Adolescents, 45, 67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Roick, J., & Ringeisen, T. (2017). Self-efficacy, test anxiety, and academic success: A longitudinal validation. International Journal of Educational Research, 83, 84–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sarason, I. G. (1984). Stress, anxiety, and cognitive interference: Reactions to tests. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 929–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sarason, S. B., & Mandler, G. (1952). Some correlates of test anxiety. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, 810–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schermelleh-Engel, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Müller, H. (2003). Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: Tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods of Psychological Research Online, 8(2), 23–74.Google Scholar
  59. Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2005). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  60. Schunk, D. H., Meece, J. L., & Pintrich, P. R. (2014). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications (4th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  61. Spielberger, C. D., Anton, W. D., & Bedell, J. (1976). The nature and treatment of test anxiety. In M. Zuckerman & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Emotions and anxiety: New concepts, methods, and applications (pp. 317–344). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  62. Statistics Norway. (2014). Key figures on gender equality. Retrieved from www.ssb.no/befolkning/nokkeltall/key-figures-on-gender-equality.
  63. UK Parliament. (2008). The children, schools, and families committeeThird report. Retrieved from http://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmchilsch/169/16902.htm.
  64. Undheim, J. O., Nordvik, H., Gustafsson, K., & Undheim, A. M. (1995). Academic achievement of high-ability students in egalitarian education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 39, 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. von der Embse, N., Barterian, J., & Segool, N. (2013). Test anxiety interventions for children and adolescents: A systematic review of treatment studies from 2000–2010. Psychology in the Schools, 50, 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Warner-Søderholm, G. (2012). Culture matters: Norwegian cultural identity within a Scandinavian context. SAGE Open.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244012471350.Google Scholar
  67. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (Eds.). (2002a). Development of achievement motivation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  69. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2002b). The development of competence beliefs, expectancies for success, and achievement values from childhood through adolescence. In A. Wigfield & J. S. Eccles (Eds.), Development of achievement motivation (pp. 91–120). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. World Bank. (2011). Learning for all: Investing in people’s knowledge and skills to promote development: Education sector strategy 2020. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Retrieved from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/ESSU/Education_Strategy_4_12_2011.pdf.
  71. Zeidner, M. (1998). Test anxiety: The state of the art. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  72. Zeidner, M. (2004). Test anxiety. In C. Spielberger (Ed.), Encyclopedia of applied psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 545–556). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zeidner, M. (2007). Test anxiety in educational contexts: Concepts, findings, and future directions. In P. A. Schutz & R. Pekrun (Eds.), Emotion in education (pp. 165–184). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zeidner, M. (2014). Anxiety in education. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education (pp. 265–288). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  75. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: An essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 82–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Special Needs EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations