Individual differences in coping skills as they relate to anxiety & performance



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The history of stress reseach includes a large component aimed at investigating the concept of anxiety and its effects on performance, often with conflicting results. It has become apparent that there are often significant individual differences in performance under conditions of stress, and that accurate prediction of performance necessitates consideration of those factors which may account for these differences; it has been suggested that individual differences in coping responses may serve to moderate the relationship between anxiety and performance. The present study represents an attempt to investigate this possibility. It can be considered an advance over many existing studies in that anxiety was assessed within a naturalistic situation, and that an actual performance measure and a multidimensional coping instrument were employed. Subjects consisted of 66 first-year dental students, and data were collected in connection with a six hour dental anatomy laboratory examination. Regression analyses were performed, and the results suggest that subjects' self-rating of anxiety failed to predict their subsequent performance. However, performance was predictable with the addition of two cognitive coping variables, cognitive preparation and rumination. Theoretical implications were explored and suggestions for future research were presented.



Achievement motivation, Anxiety