Facilitating and debilitating trait anxiety, situational anxiety, and coping with an anticipated stressor: a process analysis

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Apr;72(4):892-906. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.72.4.892.


Participants completed anxiety and coping diaries during 10 periods that began 7 days before an academic stressor and continued through the evening after the stressor. Profile analysis was used to examine the anxiety and coping processes in relation to 2 trait anxiety grouping variables: debilitating and facilitating test anxiety (D-TA and F-TA). Anxiety and coping changed over time, and high and low levels of D-TA and F-TA were associated with different daily patterns of anxiety and coping. Participants with a debilitative, as opposed to facilitative, trait anxiety style had lower examination scores, higher anxiety, and less problem-solving coping. Covarying F-TA, high D-TA was associated with a pattern of higher levels of tension, worry, distraction, and avoidant coping, as well as lower levels of proactive coping. Covarying D-TA, high F-TA was associated with higher levels of tension (but not worry or distraction), support seeking, proactive and problem-solving coping.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Problem Solving
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*