Is Test Anxiety A Form Of Specific Social Phobia?

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2005-05-26

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Test anxiety is characterized by a fear of negative evaluation, specifically in academic domains. This evaluative fear is often driven by social concerns that are consistent with those that are found in individuals with social phobia. The current study was designed to determine if test anxiety is a type of specific social phobia. 57 subjects completed a battery of self-report measures, underwent a semi-structured interview, and participated in a behavioral assessment task. Results showed that test anxious individuals were similar to socially phobic individuals in personality characteristics, in subjective ratings of anxiety as well as in the prevalence of feared situations. However, despite these similarities test anxious individuals did not show significant functional impairment during the behavioral assessment task as evaluated through level of performance, number of negative cognitions, and psychophysiological reactivity. Based on these results, test anxiety cannot be considered a type of specific social phobia.

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