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Effects of trait anxiety and cognitive appraisals on emotional reactions to psychological and physical stressors

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Effects of trait anxiety and cognitive appraisals on emotional reactions to psychological and physical stressors
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Abdullatif, Qutayba
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Stress reactions
Psychological threat
Physical danger
Coping
Model
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- Doctoral -- USF   ( lcsh )
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of individual differences in trait anxiety on cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions to stressful situations. Specifically, the effects of trait anxiety on the evaluation of psychological and physical threats to well-being were examined in relation to state-anxiety. To accomplish this goal, a proposed model consisting of elements from the Lazarus and Folkman Stress and Coping Model (1984) and Spielberger's State Trait distinctions is presented. To our knowledge, this is the first proposed model to attempt to combine trait anxiety, primary and secondary appraisals, and state anxiety and to utilize path analytic models in assessing empirical and theoretical fit. Results from mean comparisons indicate that participants reacted with higher elevations of S-anxiety in the psychological threat condition as compared to the physical threat condition. This finding is significant and unique since this is the first study that examines the differential effect of the type of stressor on the mediated path between T-anxiety and S-anxiety. Additional analyses indicated that T-Anxiety also influenced primary and secondary cognitive appraisals and participants with higher T-Anxiety demonstrated higher levels of primary appraisals and lower levels of secondary appraisals.
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Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Qutayba Abdullatif.
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Includes vita.

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Effects of Trait Anxiety and Cognitive Appraisals on Emotional Reactions to Psychological and Physical Stressors by Qutayba Abdullatif A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Psychology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Char les Spielberger, Ph.D. Mike Brannick, Ph.D. Bill Kinder, Ph.D. Paul Spector, Ph.D. Jon Rottenberg, Ph.D. Date of Approval: September 11, 2006 Keywords: stress reactions, psychological threat, physical danger, coping, model Copyright 2007, Qutayba Abdullatif

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Dedication To Firas, for your unwavering resolve to help me navigate the rough seas of the past 33 year.

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Acknowledgments The mere idea of writing an acknowledgment section was daunting to me, for I have hundreds of humans and non-humans to th ank for helping me get through this part of my journey. I am indebted to my a dvisor and mentor, Dr. Spielberger for his unwavering belief in me throughout my acad emic formative years. I thank my dissertation committee, Drs. Brannick, Kinder, Spector and Rottenberg, for their academic and personal support, flexibility, and compassion. I also thank Dr. Phares for gently pushing me to actualize the potential and pursue the dream; Dr. Brannick for teaching me how to critically think and making me critically think about teaching. My gratitude goes out to my friends, collea gues, research assistants, and students. Thank you all for the positive energy.

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i Table of Contents List of Tables................................................................................................................. .....ii Abstract....................................................................................................................... .......iii Chapter One Stress and anxiety..........................................................................................1 Evolution of the Concept of Stress..........................................................................3 Emotional Reactions to Stress.................................................................................6 Cognitive and Personality Theories of Stress and Anxiety.....................................8 Chapter Two Cognitive Theories of Stress and Anxiety....................................................9 The Lazarus and Folkman (1984) Transactional Stress Model.............................11 Cognitive Appraisals and Anxiety Reactions........................................................16 Chapter Three Personality Traits and Anxiety Reactions to Stress..................................18 Measurement of State and Trait Anxiety...............................................................19 State-Trait Anxiety in Stressful Situations............................................................20 The State Trait Process Stress Model....................................................................24 Chapter Four Rationale and Design of the Study.............................................................26 Hypotheses.............................................................................................................28 Proposed Models....................................................................................................28 Chapter Five Method........................................................................................................30 Participants.............................................................................................................30 Experimental Tasks................................................................................................31 Measures................................................................................................................32 Procedure...............................................................................................................33 Chapter Six Results........................................................................................................... 37 Correlation Matrix ................................................................................................39 Psychological Task................................................................................................39 Physical Task.........................................................................................................39 Mean Comparisons................................................................................................41 Paired Sample t-Tests............................................................................................41 Repeated Measures ANOVA.................................................................................43 Model Prediction and Testing................................................................................43 Chapter Seven Discussion.................................................................................................46

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ii References..................................................................................................................... .....50 Appendices Appendix A: Primary and Seconda ry Cognitive Appraisals Items.......................63 Appendix B: Proposed Model for T-Anxiety, Primary and Secondary Cognitive Appraisals, and S-Anxiety................................................................64 Appendix C: Model for Psychological Threat Condition: T-Anxiety, Primary and Secondary Cognitive Appraisals, and S-Anxiety.........................65 Appendix D: Model for Physical Th reat Condition: T-Anxiety, Primary and Secondary Cognitive Appr aisals, and S-Anxiety.......................................66 About the Author...................................................................................................End Page

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iii List of Tables Table 1 Means, standard deviations, a nd alpha coefficients for Trait anxiety (preand post-tasks), S-Anxiety (p reand posttask) and primary and secondary appraisals (for both ps ychological and physical tasks)...................38 Table 2. Pearson Product Moment Corre lations of correlations between Trait anxiety (pre-tasks), Preand post task S-Anxiety (for both psychological and physical tasks) and primary and secondary appraisals (of both psychologi cal and physical tasks).....................................40 Table 3. Paired sample T-tests within and across both tasks for postask Sanxiety levels and primary and secondary appraisals......................................42

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iv Effects of Trait Anxiety and Cognitive Appraisals on Emotional Reactions to Psychological and Physical Stressors Qutayba Abdullatif ABSTRACT This study investigated the effects of individual diffe rences in trait anxiety on cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions to stressful situati ons. Specifically, the effects of trait anxiety on the evaluation of psychological and physical threats to wellbeing were examined in relation to state-anxiety. To accomplish this goal, a proposed model consisting of elements from the L azarus and Folkman Stress and Coping Model (1984) and Spielberger’s State Trai t distinctions is presented. To our knowledge, this is the first propos ed model to attempt to combine trait anxiety, primary and secondary appraisals, and state anxiety and to utilize path analytic models in assessing empiri cal and theoretical fit. Results from mean comparisons indicate that participants reacted with higher elevations of S-anxiety in the psychological threat condition as compared to the physical threat condition. This finding is significant a nd unique since this is the first study that examines the differential effect of the type of stressor on the medi ated path between Tanxiety and S-anxiety. Additional analyses i ndicated that T-Anxiety also influenced primary and secondary cognitive appraisals and participants with higher T-Anxiety demonstrated higher levels of primary a ppraisals and lower levels of secondary appraisals.

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v The most interesting findings are probably the different indices of empirical and theoretical fit across the two pr edictive regression-based path analytic models of statetrait distinction in psychological and physic al threat conditions. In comparing the two models, it is interesting to note th at T-Anxiety had a consistent ( and equal ) predictive influence on pre-task S-Anxiety ( =.413, p<.05, R2= 17.1%). Other interesting findings across the two models are re lated to the predictive effects of T-anxiety on primary and secondary appraisals in the psychological condition, and the lack of these effects in the physical threat condition. T-anxiety had a direct effect on post-task S-anxiety only in the psychol ogical condition and not in the physical condition. Pre-task S-anxiety ha d a predictive value on post task S-anxiety in both threat conditions, had a predictive in fluence on primary appraisals only in the psychological threat condition, and did not have any influence on secondary appraisals.

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1 Chapter One Stress and Anxiety Stressful situations occur on a daily basis. Whether chronic and enduring or short lived and acute, stressful situations have been found to be linked to numerous psychological and physical symptoms such as anxiety (Breslau, Davis, Peterson, & Schultz, 1997), depression (Brown, Harris, & Eales, 1996), and schi zophrenia (Walker., Diforio, 1997). Stress has been associated with breast cancer and to a marked increase in the rate of cardiovascular disease in hi gh stress individuals (McKenna, Zevon, Corn, & Rounds, 1999). The field of psychology has been more inte rested in concepts associated with stress such as anxiety, emotional distress, and maladaptive behavior as compared with ‘stress’ per se (Aneshensel, 1996; Cofe r & Appley, 1964). Of the many emotional reactions to stressful situa tions, anxiety is considered to be the most typically experienced. Anxiety symptoms occur when i ndividuals perceive that the demands of a given situation exceed their ab ilities, skills, or resources (Friedman, Clark, & Gershon, 1992). Furthermore, anxiety symptoms occu r more often in individuals who have undergone stressful life events. (Finlay-Jones & Brown, 1981). Several personality and cognitive models have been proposed to explain stressrelated anxious reactions in humans. Despite the meaningful theoretical frameworks that these models provide for explaining anxious re actions to stressful s ituations, there still are some major limitations. First, the current cognitive and personality models of stress

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2 related anxiety remain separate and practica lly mutually exclusive and do not recognize the potential importance of the interactions of the cognitive and personality elements in reacting to stressful situati ons (Endler, Edwards, & Vite lli, 1991; Lazarus & Opton, 1966; Vinacour & Levin, 2004). To our knowledge, there have not been any studies that attempted to study the co ntribution and interactio ns of elements from both perspectives to the occurrence of anxious reac tions to stressful situations per se (Verhaak, Smeenk, van Minnen, & Kraaimaata, 2004). This study will investigate the effects of trait anxiety on cognitive evaluations (appraisals) and the intensity of anxiety as an emotiona l reaction to two stressful situations involving thre at to self esteem and threat to physical well-being. In so doing, this study is assessing the fit and applicability of a stress anxiety model that incorporates elements from cognitiveand personality-based models of stress-related anxiety. The literature on anxiety, cognitive and pe rsonality models of stress and anxiety, and the relevant concepts were reviewed in the following sections In chapter 1, the concept of psychological stress, emotional reactio ns to stressful situat ions, the concept of anxiety, and a brief review of theoretical m odels for anxiety will all be presented. In chapter 2, cognitive conceptualizations of anxiety were presented briefly, emphasizing the Lazarus and Folkman (1984) Transacti onal Stress model and cognitive processes associated with anxiety reactions in stressful situations. Chapter 3 will briefly review personality theories of anxiety, and will examine the implications of the State Trait distinction in research on the effects of cognitive appraisal on emotional reactions to stress. In chapter 4, the State Trait Proce ss model (Spielberger, 1972) will be discussed as a precursor for the current proposed model. Chapter 5 will

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3 contain an examination of the Cognition or Em otion Primacy debate as related to stress and anxiety. The proposed model that integrat es the personality mode l with the cognitive appraisal model will then be proposed. Evolution of the Concept of Stress The first time the term ‘Stress’ appeared in the psychological literature was in the index of Psychological Abstracts in 1944 (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). The interest in the concept of stress grew ra pidly ever since to the exte nt that the cover story of Time Magazine of June 6, 1983 declared our age to be the Age of Stress Over the past sixty years, psychological stress emerged to be one of the most researched concepts in modern psychological, sociological, and psychiatric li terature (Hobfoll, 1998). A literature search with PsychINFO using the term “stress” produced more than 80,000, and the number of articles on the topic of stre ss in Psychological Abstracts in creased from a significant 130 articles per year in 1990 to a remark able 900 in 1999 (Jones & Bright, 2001). The term Stress however, was used as early as the fourteenth century to denote hardship or affliction (Lumsden, 1981). It was defined for the first time in the physical sciences during the late years of the seventeenth century as the ratio of the physical force to the area over which the force acted (Hinkl e, 1977). It was not until late nineteenth century that stress was perceived as a fa ctor contributing to ill health, yet the conceptualization of stress related illness was not fully articulated until 1932 when Walter Cannon proposed that stress was a disturbance to the body under demanding physical conditions, and that the levels of such a disturbance or ‘stress’ could be measured.

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4 Selye (1936) is credited with the first t echnical use of the term stress which he defined as a collection of bodily functions that were well-synchr onized and served as defense mechanisms against aversive envir onmental stimuli. Selye (1936) called this reaction the General Adaptation Syndrom e (GAS) and differentiated between environmental demands or ‘stressors’ and the specific reactions to these demands (i.e.: stress). Seyle’s (1936) conceptu alization of stress is consid ered to be the foundation for more recent advancements and expansions in the concept of psychological stress (Hinkle, 1977). Another major contribution to the concep t of psychological stress was proposed by Harold Wolff in 1953. In his description of life stress and disease in the 1940’s and 1950’s, he regarded stress as a dynamic reaction of an organism that is experiencing environmental demands and aversive stimuli. Despite their shortcomings, the biological models of stress as conceptualized in Wolff’s (1953) dynamic processes and Seyle’s (1936) orchestrated physiologi cal response patterns gave rise to several important theoretical themes that influen ced more recent conceptualizati ons of stress. First, stress signified an active state of reacting to environmental demands, as opposed to being considered passive as in th e physical sciences. Second, the term stress offered a useful analogy to the concept of psychological coping in which individuals actively attempted to dealing with environmental stressors. Third, elements of stress such as available resources, costs and adversity, and challe nge became crucial determinants of the conceptualization of the stress conceptu alization. Fourth, th e dynamic interaction between the organism and the environment drew attention to all components of the

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5 interaction, including those that reside outside the organi sm (Hinkle, 1977; Jones & Bright, 2001; Lumsden, 1981). The influence of biological models of stress affected the research focus on psychological stress during the fifties and sixt ies. Researchers began investigating the adaptation process of humans in reaction to stressful situations (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Pearlin & Schooler, 1978). Within Stim ulus–Response (S-R) psychology, stress was defined as a process whereby stimuli re quired functional respons es (reaction) from humans. Whether environmental or internal (e.g., hunger), stimuli were typified as affecting a large number of people, a small number of people or one person, or daily hassles (White, 1959). Stimulus-response approaches failed, however to offer a systematic and universal conceptualization of stress. There were no clearly defi ned markers of why specific stimuli were considered as stressors and wh at rendered certain responses stressful. Furthermore, S-R psychology did not take into consideration any i ndividual differences in reactions to stress and did not differentia te between what was considered to be a normal, naturally-occurring adaptation reaction to stre ss and what qualified as excessively stressful and beyond normalcy (J ones & Bright, 2001; Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). One of the most widely accepted and endur ing conceptualization of stress was proposed in 1966 by Richard Lazarus who re viewed the literature on stress and formulated a theory based on appraisal Initially discussed in his seminal book in 1966, and expanded and refined in more recent work (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), Lazarus proposed that stress and its emotional c onsequences depended primarily on how

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6 individuals evaluate (or appraise) their inte ractions with the environment (Lazarus, 1966 ; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Scheier, 1984; Schonpflug & Battmann, 1988). The Lazarus and Folkman (1984) Transactional Stress model will be discussed in a following chapter. In the next section, however, anxiety reactions to psychological stress were examined and the concept of anxiety will be briefly reviewed. Emotional Reactions to Stress Stress has been an implicit framework from which interest and research in psychopathology stemmed. Research on psychol ogical stress has been concerned with examining mental health outcomes, specifi cally emotional distress and maladaptive behavior associated with stress. Anxiety ha s been one of the most heavily researched reactions to stressful situations (Aneshensel, 1996). While it may seem that the fifties witnessed the beginnings of the interest in psychological stre ss, and especially its relation to anxiety, researchers have been interested in anxiety for a much longer time than stress (Spielberger, personal comm unication, September, 2005). The origins of anxiety can be traced back to Darwin (1872/1965) who considered fear to be a product of evolution. He concep tualized a continuum of tension and anxiety, ranging from mild apprehension to an extr eme “agony of fear”, which was shared by humans and animals. Freud (1924) distinguis hed three types of a nxiety: objective or reality anxiety, neurotic anxi ety, and moral anxiety. Object ive anxiety was proportional in its intensity to the objective danger inherent in a particular situation. Neurotic anxiety referred to an emotional reaction that result ed from a conflict betw een id impulses that were unacceptable to the ego. Moral anxiet y, or guilt, resulted fr om a conflict between the id and the super ego or conscience. The te rm anxiety was used in Freud’s formulation

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7 of psychoanalytic concepts (1953), yet the c onceptualization of c onflict-induced anxiety serving as a cue of danger and triggering defe nse mechanisms, is closely related to the concept of stress. In an early study on stress-related anxiet y, Janis (1958) examined the influences of stress in patients undergoing surgical threat and concluded that st ress had a significant effect on levels of anxiety in these patient s. The reinforcement-learning theory of Hull (1943) and Spence (1956) was one of the domin ant formulations of stress in American psychology for many decades. In that formulati on, anxiety was perceived as a classically conditioned response that led to pathological habits of anxiety reduction. Over a period of twenty years, and throughout the writings of many authors on the subject matter, it was obvious that the dominant view of anxiety is that it was a product of stress (May, 1950). Wars also influenced the research on stress and anxiety. World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War mobilized and popularized research and, cons equently, theory on stress and anxiety. In their masterpiece Men Under Stress, Grinker and Spiegel (1945) established a landmark in terms of the earliest psychological applications of the concept of stress. The literature on stress and anxiety is replete with personality and cognitive models and theoretical formulations aiming at explaining stress-related anxious reactions in humans. In the following section, the cogniti ve and personality theo retical orientations of stress and anxiety will be briefly reviewed.

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8 Cognitive and Personality Theori es of Stress and Anxiety Models explaining anxious reactions to stress can be divided into two major categories: those emphasizing personality dimensions and others with cognitive and information processing foci. Personality theories stress that indi viduals experiencing anxious reactions to stressful situations generally score higher on Trait anxiety scales, experience and express higher levels of negative affect, are more ne urotic, or are more sensitive to aversive stimuli (Clark, Watson & Mineka, 1994; Eysenck, 1970, 1998; Spielberger, 1966, 1979; Watson & Clark, 1984). Cognitive theorists explain vulnerability to anxious reactions to stressful situations as stemming from selective attenti on to aversive internal and external stimuli and processing of aversive informati on (Foa & Kozak, 1986; Mogg & Bradley, 1999; Williams, Mathews, & MacLeod, 1996). Later cogni tive theories proposed that biases in processing threatening information take place in the pre-attentive or the attentional levels. The former can be identified in non-clinical samples with attention tests such as the Stroop tasks, while the latter are most readily identified in clinical samples (Beck & Clark, 1997, Mathews & MacLe od, 1994; Mogg & Bradley, 1999) One major goal of this study is, therefore, to offer an alternative model of stress and anxiety that incorporates elements of personality and cognitive theories. In the following two sections, cognitive and personalit y factors of stress and anxiety will be reviewed.

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9 Chapter Two Cognitive Theories of Stress and Anxiety Cognitive elements in stress related anxiety have been well documented (Williams, Watts, MacLeod, & Mathews, 1997, Wenzel & Lystad, 2005). As compared to normal individuals, anxious individuals te nd to pay attention to threatening stimuli more quickly (McNally, Riemann, & Kim, 1990; Mogg & Bradley, 1999), recall more threatening stimuli (Coles & Heimberg, 2002), attribute more threat to ambiguous situations (Butler & Mathew s, 1983; MacLeod & Cohen, 1993) and catastrophize stimuli and judge them to be more negative (Butle r & Mathews, 1983; Foa, Franklin, Perry, & Herbert, 1996; Stopa & Clark, 2000). Several theories were proposed to expl ain and predict emo tional reactions to stressful situations. Connectionist or ne twork theories combine principles from behaviorism and psychoanalytic theories. Spec ifically, the laws of learning and Freud’s free association techniques provide the theo retical framework of the earliest network theory proposed by Breurer and Freud (1895/1974). Freud argued that traumatic experiences, thoughts, or memories can form a “pathogenic nucleus” around which later memories can become attached. Therefore, activation of one memory node can spread energy in connected nucleus and nodes, ther eby activating the emotion or the thought which takes form in dreams.

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10 Later advances in the cognitive sciences led to the development of Bower’s network theory of emotion, which is considered to be the most widely accepted (Bower, 1981; Bower & Cohen, 1982). Bower proposed th at emotions, concepts, events and thoughts can are represented by nodes within a network. Activation within one network depends on strength of signal, proximity of nodes to each other, and elapsed time since last activation, and would trigger emoti ons, thoughts and behaviors previously represented within that network. There were some major empirical and th eoretical limitations to Bower’s theory, which assumes specific cognitive tendencie s to attend to, remember, and perceive specific stimuli were associat ed with all mood categories. However, evidence suggests that anxiety was closely associated with a ttention-related biases whereas depression may be related to memory biases (Williams et al, 1997). A major theoretical problem relates to empirical evidence that information is stored systematically in a manner differen t than proposed by Bower’s network theory. Anderson and his colleagues (1976) and J ohnson-Laird, Hermann, and Chaffin (1984) provided evidence that information was stor ed differently than in a network of interconnected nodes, and that th at activation of one node did not necessarily activate the associated nodes. Since Bower’s theory was developed primarily to represent associations between simple words, it was una ble to represent complex concepts such as events, actions, and situations. Appraisal theories of emotion presuppose that cognitive evaluation (appraisal) precedes, and to a large extent, determines the occurrence of emotional reactions. The term “appraisal” was first used in relation to emotion by Arnold (1960). The earliest of

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11 the appraisal theories was that of Schachte r and Singer (1962) who proposed that emotion involved an evaluation of phys iological arousal. Whether th e state of arousal had a positive or a negative meaning, and consequent ly the type of emotions experienced, depended on how individuals explained the arousal state. Recent evidence, however, suggested that the bodily arous al was not common to all emotions, and that differences exist between the types of physiological char acteristics for different emotions (Ekman, 1992). Despite the dissimilarities between the above-mentioned cognitive theories, they seem to share common basic premises. One of the most important premises shared by cognitive models of stress relate d anxiety is the appr aisal of perceived th reat in a stressful situation and evaluations of adaptive resources. This premise matches exactly with the concepts of primary and secondary appraisals conceptualized in Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) Transactional Stress model (reviewed in the next section) and materializes the immense importance of systema tically incorporating the concept of appraisals into the State Trait process. The Lazarus and Folkman (1984) Transactional Stress Model In their transactional stress model, Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) emphasized and expanded on the notions of s ituation evaluation in terms of evaluation of threat and availability of skills and resources to cope with the stressful situ ation. Cognitive theorists have proposed that emotional reactivity to st ressful situations resulted from cognitive appraisals of personal, social, and physical situations. Such situations are evaluated with respect to their impact on well being of the individual (Lazarus, 1991a 1991b 1991c ; Scheier, 1984; Schonpflug & Battmann, 1988; Smith & Lazarus, 1993 ). Cognitive

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12 appraisals usually involve assessment of dema nds inherent in the situation and that are then contrasted to availability and adequacy of adequate resources for coping with such demands (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1996 ; Houston, 1987 ; Lazarus, 1993 ; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 ; Mason, 1975 ; Menaghan, 1983 ). The two types of cognitive appraisals are Primary and secondary appraisals Demand appraisals or Primary Appraisa ls refer to assessment of the demand characteristics of the situa tion in terms of physical and/ or psychological demands (e.g., “Is there a threat to my well-being?”). Re source appraisals or Secondary Appraisals involve assessments of pers onal resources required for d ealing effectively with the situational demands, and the extent to which these are expected to function favorably to deal with the situation. Two types of secondary appraisals denote perceived control over the situation and perceived resourcefulness in dealing with the situ ation (e.g., “Do I have the skills to cope with the pr oblem?”) (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Demand Appraisals include three types: i rrelevant, benign-positive, and stressful. Irrelevant appraisal is one that does not impact the well being of the individual and carries no implications. A benign-positive apprai sal occurs when the outcome of a certain situation is construed as positive and beari ng positive implication for the well being of the individual. This type is usually associated with pleasurable emotions such as love, joy, or peacefulness. Stressful appraisals include harm/loss threat and challenge When some damage to the person has already been sustained such as occurren ce of some damage to selfor social-esteem, stress appraisa ls of harm/loss are generated. Threat appraisals are contingent on past harm/loss experiences, wher eby individuals anticipate future harm/loss

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13 in their threat appraisals. Hence, threat is always associated with harm/loss since any is construed as bearing negative implications fo r the future. In threat appraisals, negative feelings of fear, anxiety, and anger are common. Challenge appraisals focus mainly on potential for gain as outcomes of the situati on. These usually relate to positive feelings of exhilaration, eagerness, and excitement. Howeve r, some authors have associated threat appraisals to situations where individuals perceive demands in excess of their resources or abilities, whereas challenge appraisals we re related to situati ons that posed demands within a person’s resources or abilities. Several studies ha ve reported that threat and challenge appraisals affected and predicte d affective, behavior al, and physiological responses in potentially stressful situa tions (Tomaka & Blascovich, 1994; Tomaka, Blascovich, Kelsey, & Leitten, 1993; Tomaka, Blascovich, Kibler, & Ernst, 1997). Threat appraisals have been associated with great er subjective stress and negative emotion as compared with challenge appraisals. Evidence for the interaction between prim ary and secondary appraisals has been inconclusive. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) proposed that “ secondary appraisals of coping options and primary appraisals of what is at stake interact with each other in shaping the degree of stress a nd the strength and quality of the emotional response” (pp. 35). Other stress and anxiety models have also argued for this inte ractive view (Perkun, 1984, 1992). Although Folkman, Lazarus, Gruen, and DeLongis (1986) reported that, in predicting psychological adjustment, secondary appraisals failed to add incremental validity beyond the variance accounted for by primary appraisals, other studies have either reported independent effects of primary and seconda ry appraisals (Zohar & Dayan, 1999), or failed to provide support for the interaction view (Sm ith & Lazarus, 1991).

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14 The relation between primary and seconda ry appraisals can be understood in terms of a ratio between the threat level of a situation and the available resources and skills that are needed to deal with the perceived threat. Hence, primary and secondary appraisals do not seem to operate independent ly to affect levels of anxiety. However, empirical support for this argument is required. While the interactive view of primary and secondary appraisals appears to approach th e definition of cognitive appraisals discussed above more precisely, both views of in teraction and indepe ndence are assessed. The most widely used method for measuring primary and secondary appraisals is by subjective self-reports where respondents are instructed to a ppraise specific situations (Herbert & Cohen, 1996). The unde rlying assumption is that in dividuals are the best and most reliable source of information regardi ng their cognitive evaluations of a specific stressful situation. Adhering to the conceptual definitions of cognitive primary and secondary appraisals as specified by Lazarus (1966; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), subjective self reports attempt to measure the “perceived” meaning of the situation according to the respondent (Monroe & Kelly, 1995). Two subjective self-report approaches are commonly used to measure appraisals. First, multiple item appraisals scales were developed to assess cognitive evaluations of either a specific stressor or global life stre ssors facing the individual (Monroe & Kelley, 1995). The Stress Appraisal Measure (SAM; Peacock& Wong, 1990) is an example of this approach to measuring a specific stressor It assesses three primary (Threat, challenge and centrality) and secondary (controlla bility by self, by others, and by anyone) cahracteritsics of a specific stressor. Although this measure has good psychometric properties, there is evidence that it may be tapping other constructs as well, such as

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15 psychological distress and mood (Herbert & Cohen, 1996). The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) is an example of a global measure that requires respondents to indicate how unpredictable, uncontrol lable and over-loading their lives have been. This measure has also s hown good psychometric qualities and has been used in laboratory and field re search (Monroe & Kelley, 1995). The second approach for the assessment of appraisals is to use single-item questions designed to assess primary and sec ondary appraisals of specific stressors. The administration of these questions usually fo llows immediately after the exposure to a situation which makes this method more suit able for experimental research in the laboratory (Herbert & Cohen, 1996) Using this approach, appr aisals of control, and predictability were found to pr edict coping strategies such as seeking social support and relaxation (Schwartz & Stone, 1993). Both approaches of assessing appraisals suffer from some psychometric and conceptual limitations. Despite their demons trable psychometric properties in terms of internal consistency and test-retest reliability, the multiple-item appraisal scales were developed to measure appraisals of a small nu mber of stressful situations. Therefore, it would be difficult to use these sc ales to assess reactions to novel stressful situations. In addition, these measures may be influen ced by other factors such as appraisal antecedents, psychological outcomes, personal ity factors, cognitive styles, and current mood states (Cohen, Tyrrell, & Smith, 1993). The single-item approach, while somewhat inferior in psycho metric properties such as reliability, provides an excellent prel iminary exploration of a ppraisals related to a particular stressor. This approach also allo ws researchers to formulate items to measure

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16 primary and secondary appraisals fitting the theoretical framework of the study. Furthermore, this approach provides a very useful basis for c onstruction of more comprehensive measures of primary and s econdary appraisals (Herbert & Henton, 1996; Monroe & Kelley, 1995). For these reasons, th e single-item approach was followed in this study to construct questions aimed at m easuring primary and secondary appraisals. Cognitive Appraisals and Anxiety Reactions The relationship between threat appraisa ls and anxiety is well established. According to cognitive models of emotion, a nxiety is elicited primarily when evaluative processes of the situation de tect threat that may imply potential harm/loss to the individual (Eysenck, 1992; Lazarus, 1991; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Sarason & Sarason, 1990). Threat appraisa ls are also accompanied by lower secondary appraisals relating to the perceptions of one’s ability to deal with the threaten ing situation (Bandura, 1997; Lazarus, 1991, Lazarus, & Folkman, 1984; Morris, Davis, & Hutchings, 1981). Individuals who experience anxi ety in stressful situations tend to anticipate negative outcomes that would pose threats to wellbeing (Rapee & Heimberg, 1997; Sarason & Sarason, 1990). Challenge appraisals, as compared to th reat appraisals, have been found to be associated with higher coping expectanci es, lower subjective stress, and higher perceptions of effectiveness and resources for dealing with the stressful situation (Tomaka et al., 1997). Furthermore, challenge was found to correlate positively with positive emotions, such as hope and ha ppiness (Smith & Ellsworth, 1985, 1987). As mentioned previously, cognitive based conceptualizations of anxious reactions to stress in humans have co-existed with personality based theories. One major goal of

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17 this study, as discussed above, is to provide an alternative model of anxiety reactions to stress that incorporates elements of personal ity and cognitive theori es. It is beneficial, therefore, to discuss some of personality based factors as related to anxious reactions. In the following section, the State-Trait conceptual ization of anxiety as related to stressful situations is descri bed and discussed.

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18 Chapter Three Personality Traits and Emotional Reactions to Stress Spielberger (1972) cited Lazarus’s (1966) contention that “the term stress has been used to refer to both the dangerous stimulus situations (s tressors) that produce anxiety reactions, and the c ognitive, affective, behavior al, and physiological changes (stress reactions) produced by st ressful stimuli”. In additi on, Spielberger (1972) defined threat as “an individual’s perception of a situ ation as more or less dangerous or personally threatening to him or her” (pp. 5) He identified two factors affecting one’s perception of threat in a stressful situation: level of perceived threat in the situation and whether or not one has the skills to deal with the situation. In addition to these contributions to the cognitive elements of stress and anxiety, Spielberger’s most important contribution was the expansion and de velopment of the state-trait distinction as related to anxiety. The state-trait distinction in anxiety wa s first proposed by Ca ttell (1966; Cattell & Scheier, 1961) and later expanded an d emphasized by Spielberger (1966, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976). Spielberger (1972, p.39) defined stat e anxiety as “a transitory emotional state or condition of the organism that varies in intensity and fluctu ates over time. This condition is characterized by subjective f eelings of tension and apprehension, and activation of the autonomic nervous syst em. Level of A-State should be high in circumstances that are perceived by an indi vidual to be threaten ing, irrespective of

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19 objective danger; A-State intensity should be re latively low in nonstressful situations, or in circumstances in which existing dange r is not perceived as threatening.”. Trait anxiety was conceptualized as “rel atively stable indivi dual differences in anxiety proneness; that is, di fferences in the disposition to perceive a wide range of stimulus situations as dangerous or threat ening, and in the tendency to respond to such threats with the A-State reactions. A-Trait may also be regarded as reflecting individual differences in the frequency with which A-States have been manifested in the past and in the probability that such states were experienced in the futu re. Persons who are high in ATrait tend to perceive a larger number of s ituations as dangerous or threatening than persons who are low in A-Tra it, and to respond to threaten ing situations with A-State elevations of greater intens ity” (Spielberger, 1972, pp. 39). Measurement of State and Trait Anxiety The State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-F orm X, Spielberger et. al, 1970) was developed to provide a reliable and valid assessment of state and trait anxiety in clinical and research contexts. It consisted of 20 ite ms assessing state anxiety as indicated by the intensity of anxiety feeling “right now”, and 20 items asse ssing trait anxiety by reporting the frequency of anxiety feeli ngs “in general”. In the revi sion of the STAI, Spielberger and his colleagues (1980) administered the ST AI-Form X to more than 400 students and conducted separate factor analyses for male s and females. Overall, 30% of the STAI (Form X) items were replaced. The final set of items based on factor analyses and item remainder correlations were then incl uded in the revised STAI (Form Y, Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983).

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20 The validity and utility of the STAI (Form Y) was also supported in research with anxiety disorder patients, and yielded stat e and trait factors (Oei, Evans, & Crook, 1990). The item content of the STAI was also comp ared to diagnostic cr iteria and criterionbased symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Diso rder as specified in the DSM-IV (APA, 1994). The STAI was found to meet 5 of 8 do mains of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, supporting its applicability for clinical re search (Okun, Stein, Bauman, & Silver, 1996). Today, the state trait distinction and Spie lberger’s State-Trai t Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, et al, 1970, 1983) continues to be the most used anxiety measure worldwide. The state trait distinction and both forms of the STAI have been used in more than 8,000 research studies in medicine, psyc hology, education, and ot her social sciences (Sesti, 2000). While The STAI remains the most popular measure for assessment of state and trait anxiety, the State Trait Personality I nventory (Spielberger, 1979) was developed to measure state and trait anxiety, anger, depres sion and curiosity. The state scales assess the intensity of these emotional states at a particular moment; the trait scales measure how often each emotional state is generally experienced. The STPI Anxiety items were primarily derived from the STAI. In the cu rrent study, the STPI anxiety items of STPI were used to assess state and trait anxiety, e ach with 10 items compared to the 20 items in the state and trait scales of the STAI, yielding significant savings in time. State-Trait Anxiety and Stressful Situations Spielberger (1976) differentiated between th reat as an individual’s perception of how threatening a situation is, and stress as an “objective, consensually validated stimulus properties of a situ ation that is characterized by some degree of physical or

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21 psychological danger…” (pp. 5). In other words, a stressor is c onsidered to be threatening to an individual only to the extent that th e individual perceives it to be. Furthermore, Spielberger (1976) contends that an increas e in state Anxiety (A -state) is expected following a perception of a thr eatening experience (Spielberg er, 1976). The relation, thus, between trait anxiety and state anxiety is infl uenced by evaluations of levels of threat attributed to the situation. A more recent, yet similar conceptualization of stress as related to evaluation of danger was proposed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984), whereby a cognitive appraisal was defined as “an eval uative process that de termines why and to what extent a particular transaction or seri es of transactions between the person and the environment is stressful” (p. 19). Over the last four decades, many studie s have investigated the state trait distinction per se as well as its relation to stressful c onditions (Manuck, Hinrichsen & Ross, 1975; Hinton, Rotheiler & Howard, 1991) Glanzman and Laux (1978) separated responders to the STAI based on their scores on the trait scale of the STAI (Spielberger, et al., 1970) into high and low groups. These high and low T-Anxiety groups where then exposed to stressors either de noting a threat of physical pain or a threat to self-esteem. Responders in the high trait anxiety group showed significan tly higher state anxiety scores as compared to responders in the low-tr ait anxiety group in th e self-esteem stressor but not the physical pain. Several studies have reported similar findings (Hodges, 1968; Hodges & Spielberger, 1966; Katkin 1965, 1966; Rappaport & Katkin, 1972). The state-trait distinction as related to stressful situation evaluation has spawned a plethora of studies (e.g.: Manuck, Hinrichsen & Ross, 1975; Hinton, Rotheiler & Howard, 1991). The mediational nature of st ress and anxiety with in the state-trait

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22 distinction was extensively investigate d. While some studies adhered to the conceptualization set forth by Spielb erger (1966, 1972a, 1976), several crucial methodological and conceptual problems were evident. The first pr oblem relates to a priori differential judgments on behalf of the experimenters about the nature of stressors presented to respondents. That is, despite the conceptualization of s ituation evaluation as a mediator between trait and state anxiety, many studies investigated fl uctuations in state or trait anxiety under varying stress conditions without emphasizing the critical mediation nature of situation evaluation on behalf of the responders. Wadsworth, Barker, and Baker (1976) explor ed the factor stru cture of the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI, Spielberge r, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970) under various stress conditions and they found one underlying factor of anxiety that accounted for 60% of the variance, but failed to replicate the st ate-trait distinction of anxiety. However, the stressors were assessed and evaluated by Wadsworth and his colleagues (1976) and not by the respondents. In addition, the principal axis com ponent analysis that was used is suitable for variable reduction. Thus, the resu lts were inconsistent with exploratory or confirmatory factor analyses. Houston, Fox, and Forbes (1984) investigat ed the effect of trait anxiety on cognitive performance in children under hi gh and low stressful conditions that were experimentally manipulated. Alt hough higher levels of trait a nxiety were associated with higher levels of state anxiety, no significant interactions were found in the evaluations of the effects of trait anxiety and stress in higher state a nxiety levels. According to Spielberger (1972), a situation is e ither stressful or nonstressful as perceived by the individual. Since low and high stress situ ations were designed and rated by the

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23 investigators, consequently the participants did not indicate how stressful they perceived the situations to be. It very well may be that participants differed in their perceptions of how stressful the situations were. Bedell and Roitzsch (1976) also failed to allow participants to assess their perceived levels of stress in an investiga tion examining the effects of stress and trait anxiety in emotionally disturbed, normal, and delinquent children. Th eir results indicated that anxiety state increased as a function of stress, whereas trait anxiety was relatively stable and was not affected by differential levels of stress. Other studies have also failed to allow responders to evaluate their perceptions of the stressful s ituation (e.g., Millimet & Gardner, 1972). It is crucial, therefore, to allow the respondents to subjectively evaluate and rate the level of threat that th ey perceive to be asso ciated with any given situation. This study will allow respondents to rate the level of threat (among others) they perceive in a situation. The second methodological problem relates to the time sequencing of the trait, stress, and state relationships. Trait anxiety wa s conceptualized as a personality trait that is stable across time and stemming from previous experiences and/or early temperamental tendencies. Conceptually, tra it anxiety usually precedes a current or a most recent evaluation of a stre ssful situation, which, in turn, may lead to an elevation in state anxiety. Situation evaluation, thus, occu rs between individual di fferences in anxiety traits and current state anxiet y. Hence, it is crucial that th e evaluation of the stressful situation be consistent with the time seque nce of the state anxiety being assessed. In an investigation aimed at assessing the role of individual differences in trait anxiety as mediating the relationship between naturally occurring stressors and state

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24 anxiety scores, Payne (1983) concluded that individuals having high trait anxiety scores did not show a higher correlation between life stress and state anxiety as compared to individuals with low trait scores. Howeve r, Payne (1983) administered the LES, a 57item self-report measure assessing several st ressful situations en countered by respondents during the previous year. Given that state anxiety refe rs to intensity of the most recent evaluation of anxiety, it can be argued that the stress score on the LES would correlate higher with trait anxiety than it would w ith state anxiety. Inde ed, Payne’s results indicated a higher and more significant correl ation between stress scor es and trait anxiety as compared to stress scores and state anxiety. It is clear that the cr ucial violation of the stated time sequencing in the conceptualizat ion of state-trait a nxiety distinction, and hence the conclusion made by Payne (1983) is open to question. A better method is to follow the time sequencing proposed by Spielberger (1972, 1976), who proposed that trait anxiety influenc ed the level of perceived threat that responders attributed to a given stressful situ ation, which, in turn, affected the level of state anxiety that they experienced. This time sequencing of measurement was followed in this study, whereby levels of T-Anxiety were measured first, followed by primary and secondary appraisals and ending with measur ing S-Anxiety levels. The following section introduces and discusses an earlier model of stress and anxiety that takes into consideration some of the el ements discussed above. The State Trait Pr ocess Stress Model As previously noted, research on stress and anxiety has established the need for distinguishing between S-Anxiety as a tran sitory emotional state and T-Anxiety as relatively stable individual differences in anxiety proneness. Comp ared to individuals

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25 scoring low on T-Anxiety, individu als high in T-Anxiety tend to perceive more situations as threatening, attribute more threat levels to specific situations, and more frequently experience higher levels of S-Anxiety. Spielb erger (1985) proposed th at differences in dispositions to experience a nxiety (T-Anxiety) are activated by what individuals perceive to be threatening to their well be ing in stressful situations. Spielberger (1985) outlined a state-trait-pr ocess model of anxi ety based on Freud’s (1936) danger-signal theory and Lazarus’ s (1966) conception of stress and coping. In Spielberger’s model, an A-State react ion may be initiated by internal stimuli such as thoughts or memories or external stressors. Depending on the level of threat attributed to the stressful stimulus, an SAnxiety reaction would be evoked, irrespective of the objective nature of dange r or threat. The intensity a nd duration of the emotional SAnxiety reaction is directly proportional to the amount of threat that the individual perceives in the stimulus or st ressful situation. Other factors such as previous experience with the stressor, coping skills, and feelings also affect the level of perceived threat attributed to the stimulus or situation (Spielberger, 1985). Some of the elements from the StateTrait process model guided this study. Specifically, the influence T-Anxiety on apprai sal processes and the evaluation of threats to well-being were incorporated into the proposed model. In a ddition, the relationship between the levels of threat a ttributed to a given stimulus or situation and the intensity and duration of S-Anxiety emotional reactions will also be included. In addition, the proposed model will expand and add to the St ate-Trait Process model selected elements from the Lazarus and Folkman (1984) transactional Stress model that combines the effects of personality and cogni tive factors in a novel way.

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26 Chapter Four Rationale and Design of the Study Spielberger (1976) conceptualized anxiety as a process that includes a series of variables, and had identified three major lim itations in anxiety research in relation to perceptions of stressful situa tions. The first limitation is that theorists have typically limited their scope of studying anxiety to a s ubset of variables and events included in anxiety as a process. This limitation would i nvariably lead to ne glecting other potent variables such as situation ev aluations or types of stresso rs. The second relates to the difficulty of integrating different investigati ons due to the use of diverse components of the anxiety process. The third is the lack of universal defini tions for describing all of the components of the anxiety process. This study attempts to address the three limitations by: first, including cognitive, personality and emotional components which ar e considered to be crucial elements in examining stress related anxiety; second, comb ining different yet empirically correlated theoretical constructs that have, thus far, not been gove rned by an overarching theoretical framework; and third, adhering to the statetrait distinction of anxiety, and delineating primary and secondary appraisals in conceptu alizing stress related anxiety. The proposed design of this study will facili tate establishing theoretical de finitions of the meaning of the anxiety construct as rela ted to stressful situations.

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27 The overall goals of this st udy are to reconcile major el ements of personality and cognitive theories of anxious reactions to st ressful situations by incorporating elements from these theories into a unifying new m odel of anxious reactions to anxiety. The proposed model will offer a unique conceptua lization of the proce sses involved, and will include elements from Spielberger’s stat e trait anxiety dist inction (1966, 1976) and Lazarus and Folkman’s Transactional Stre ss model (1984). The design of the current study will also allow for a more comprehensiv e analysis of the anxiety process and will lend a significant increment to the knowledge base of understanding anxiety phenomenon in an integrative manner across stressful situations. Trait anxiety (A-Trait) is conceptualized as a stable personality characteristic that differs among individuals high in trait anxiety who are expected to be more inclined to perceive situations as more threatening than individuals who are lower on this trait. The same individuals who are higher in trait anxi ety would experience hi gher levels of state anxiety, as defined by higher intensities of experiencing anxiety. Spielberger (1976) proposed this conceptualizat ion of state-trait anxiety was mediated by situation evaluation. Situation evaluation in th is study is modeled on the basis of conceptualizations of primary and secondary appraisals by Lazarus and Folkman (1984). This study specifically proposes the differen tial influence of trait anxiety on state anxiety depending on the type of threat inhere nt in the stressful situation. The specific aim of this study is to examine the differen tial influence of trait anxiety across the two types of threat (Psychological vs. Physic al) on primary and secondary appraisals, and consequently on state anxiety levels. This will be accomplished by using a one-sample

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28 within-subjects design, which allows comparis ons of primary and secondary appraisals, and levels of prea nd post task anxiety. Hypotheses: In this study, it is predicted that: 1. levels of post-task state anxiety in th e psychological threat condition will be significantly higher than levels of pre-task S-Anxiety; 2. levels of post-task state anxiety in the physical threat condition will be significantly higher than levels of pre-task S-Anxiety; 3. levels of post-task S-Anxiety in ps ychological threat condition will be significantly higher than those in physical threat condition; 4. levels of S-Anxiety will be significantly and positively correlated to T-Anxiety in the psychological threat c ondition, but not significantly co rrelated to T-Anxiety in the Physical threat condition; 5. primary appraisals will not be sign ificantly correlated with secondary appraisals in either threat condition; 6. levels of primary appraisals and SAnxiety in psychological threat condition will be higher than in the Physical threat condition; 7. levels of secondary appraisals of th e psychological threat condition will be lower than in the physical threat condition; Proposed Models In addition to the above mentioned hypot heses, Model 1 (Appendix A) depicts a predicted model for Trait Anxiety, Preand post-task S-Anxiety, and primary and secondary appraisals. As can be seen in this figure, it is specifically predicted that:

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29 A. trait anxiety will have both a direct influence on Primary and Secondary appraisals, and preand post task S-Anxiety; B. trait anxiety will have an indirect infl uence on S-Anxiety post task as mediated Primary appraisals, secondary appr aisals, and pre-task S-anxiety; C. trait anxiety will have an indirect influe nce on primary appraisals as mediated by S-Anxiety pre-task.; D. trait anxiety will have an i ndirect influence on secondary appraisals as mediated by Pre-task S-anxiety; E. primary appraisals will have a direct influence on S-Anxiety post task; F. secondary appraisals will have a di rect influence on SAnxiety post task; G. pre-task S-Anxiety will have a direct in fluence on S-Anxiety post task, primary appraisals, and sec ondary appraisals. H. Primary appraisals and secondary appraisa ls will not be correlated and will not have any influence on each other in any direction

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30 Chapter Five Method Participants completed tasks that invo lved preparing and delivering a 2 minute speech in front of a video camera, and placing th eir hand in cold water. Measures of state and trait anxiety and cognitive and self appr aisals were administered. This section describes the procedure for selecting partic ipants, experimental tasks, measures, and procedure. Participants Participants were underg raduate university students enrolled in psychology courses at the University of South Florida, who will receive extra cr edit for taking part in this study. Potential participants were invited to take part in a study of “IQ, abstract thinking and physical endurance”, which will last approximately 25-35 minutes. A total of 60 students were recruited. Participants were coordi nated by the Psychology depa rtment Participant Pool website. Students enrolled in psychology cour ses select particular experiments according to brief descriptions of the studies that are provided on the website. These descriptions include brief outlines of the studies, the amount of time required for completion, the number of extra credit points assigned to each study, and available times and dates. Students sign up accordingly, and select the sp ecific times and date during which they would like to participate. The experimenter w ill then contact registered participants to

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31 remind them of the time and date, the durat ion of the study (35-45 minutes), and the 2 extra credit points they will receive upon comp letion of the study. An attempt was made to obtain nearly equal numbers of male and female participants. Experimental Tasks The two tasks, which are described belo w, were presented sequentially in the same fixed order to all participants. Re sponding to each task will require 4 minutes. Measures of personality traits were administered at the be ginning and after all the tasks have been completed. Measures of emotional states were administered before each task and immediately following the completion of each task. Measures of cognitive appraisals of each task were obtained after the comple tion of each task immediately following the administration of emotional state measures. The first task is a Public Speaking Task (PST) in which participants will perform a 2-minute public speaking test, after a 2 minute preparation period. The participants are informed that their speech would be audiorecorded and evaluated by the experimental group for its adequacy of content, structur e of argument and l ogical sequencing. The participants are informed that they would be informed of their performance on this task relative to other participants. This task and its variations have been used extensively in the literature and had shown excellent reliabi lity and validity in eliciting elevated levels of stress and anxiety (Davis, Montgo mery, & Wilson, 2002; Gonzalez-Bono, MoyaAlbiol, Salvador, Carrillo, Ricarte, & Gomez-Amor, 2002) The second task is a Cold Pressor Task (CPT) which involves immersing the nondominant hand, up to the wrist, in cold wa ter which is maintained at a temperature between 0 and 3 Celsius. A mercury thermometer is used to measure water

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32 temperature. Participants are asked to keep their hand immersed in the cold water until they can no longer tolerate the pain. To ensure the safety of participants, an upper time limit of 2 min is used at which point the pa rticipants are asked to remove their hands from the cold water tank (Keogh & Herdenfe ldt, 2002). This task has previously been found to produce physically stressf ul situations and to possess excellent reliability and validity ( Chapman, Casey, Dubner, Fo ley, Gracely, & Reading, 1985 ; Keogh & Herdenfeldt, 2002; Edens & Gil, 1995 ). Measures The measures used in this study were the10-item state and trait anxiety scales from the State Trait Personality Inventory (S TPI; Spielberger, 1979). State and trait items were administered at the be ginning and end of the experimental session with standard instructions. The state anxiety items will al so be administered immediately after the completion of each computer task with modified instructions to dir ect participants to respond with how they felt during the experi mental tasks. Items designed to assess primary and secondary cognitive appraisals will also be administered after each experimental task. Each of thes e measures are described below. The State Trait Personality Inventory (STPI) is a 80-item self-report questionnaire, consisting of eight 10-items s cales for measuring state and trait anxiety, anger, depression and curiosity (Spielberger, 1979). The state ite ms assess the intensity of emotional reactions that are experienced at a particular moment; the trait items assess the frequency of experiencing these emotional stat es. Participants res pond to the STPI state and trait items, using 4-point Likert scal es (State: 1=Not at all, 2=Somewhat,

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33 3=Moderately so, 4=Very much so; Trait: 1=Almost Never, 2=Sometimes, 3=Often, 4=Almost Always). In this study, only the STPI state and tr ait anxiety items were used. An alpha coefficients ranging from .88 to .92 for the tra it anxiety scales and .91 to .94 for the state scales, indicate strong internal consistency (Spielberger, 1979). This pattern of internal consistency and coefficients reported is in keeping with the theoretical distinction between state and trait anxi ety, which recognizes differen ces between transitory and temporary nature of anxiety as an emotional st ate and individual diffe rences in anxiety as an enduring trait (Spielberger, 1972). Primary and secondary appraisals regard ing 2 types of stressful experimental conditions were assessed by 6 Cognitive Appraisals Items. These items were constructed for the current study in keeping with the theoretical framework as proposed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) regarding primary and se condary appraisals. The participant will respond to each appraisal item, using a 4-point Likert scale, ranging fr om “Not at all” to “Extremely so”. The single item approac h, which was discussed earlier, was used to construct appraisal items in a manner similar to that used by Schwartz and Stone (1993), Chang (1998), and Ptacek, Smith, and Dodge (1994). Three of the cognitive appraisal item s will assess three primary appraisals: Physical threat, Psychological threat, and Personal stress. Th ree other items were used to assess the secondary cognitive appraisals: Personal control, Social support, and intellectual resources (Table 1).

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34 Procedure The experimental sessions were conduc ted in a quiet room. On arrival, the participants were greeted by the experimenter. At the beginning of the experimental session, participants were informed of the na ture of the experimental tasks, which will include demographic questions, completi ng one oral and one physical task, and responding to several questionnaires that inqui re about their reactions to the tasks. Participants will then be asked to read a nd sign a consent form that contains brief descriptions of the tasks. The consent form will indicate that all information provided by the participant were kept confidential and th at no identifying information were attached to that information. Participants will then be offered the opportunity to ask any questions they may have before proceeding. After signing the consent form, participants were instructed to fill out specific demographic information (age, gender, year in college, major). Participants will then respond to the STPI trait anxiety scale to pa rticipants who were instructed to respond according to how they “ generally feel and think ”, followed by the STPI S-Anxiety scale to participants who were instructed to respond a ccording how they are “ feeling right now” The participants were then informed that they were performing an oral task that includes preparing and delivering a speech on a previous or current stressful situation. The following instructions were read to the participants: “In this task, you will have 2 minutes to prepare a 2-minute speech regarding a previous or current stressful situation where you were being evaluated by others. Th e situation could be in an academic or social context. The speech should describe the situation briefly, but should focus on how

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35 stressful it was and more importantly how you managed to deal with it. The speech will be tape recorded, and will be evaluated accordin g to its adequacy of content, structure of argument and logical sequencing. You will r eceive feedback on your performance in comparison with typical and othe r participants’ performance ". The participants will then be allowed a period of 2 minutes to prepare for their oral task. At the end of the preparation period, the experimenter will start the audio recording device, and will instru ct the participants to speak in an audible and clear voice, so the recording would be clea r for evaluation. After the par ticipants are finished with their 2 minute oral task, the experimenter will inform the pa rticipants that while their performance in their recorded speech is bei ng evaluated, they are to respond to the STPI S-Anxiety items and cognitive items according to how they felt while they were delivering the speech The experimenter will then use earphones to review the recorded speech while the participant is filling out the measures. To ensure that all participants receive positive feedback, the evaluation criteri on of the recorded speech is made very easy to meet and consists of the participants addressing, at least, one way that the situation was stressful and/or one way how they dealt with it. The participants were congratulated on their good performance and we re invited to take a 3 minute relaxation period where they would be instructed to rela x by sitting comfortabl y in their chairs and following simple relaxation techniques of breat hing slowly and deeply. This task second task and the relaxation peri od will last 9-10 minutes. After the relaxation period, participants will respond to the STPI S-A anxiety items by indicating how they are “ feeling right now ”. The participants will then be informed that they will complete a second ta sk that involves immersing the non-dominant

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36 hand, up to the wrist, in cold water. A mercury thermometer indicating the water temperature (0 and 3 Celsius) was visible to participants is used to measure water temperature. Participants were asked to keep their hand immersed in the cold water until they can no longer tolerate the pain. To ensure the safety of participants, an upper time limit of 2 min is used at which point the pa rticipants are asked to remove their hands from the cold water tank. The experimenter will ask participants ag ain if they have any medical conditions that may prevent them from participating in this task. If the participants mention any medical conditions, the experimenter will stop the experiment, debrief the participants. If the participant reports no medical conditions, then the experimenter will ask them to identify their non-dominant hand and pl ace it, up to the wrist in the cold water. The Participants were reminded to keep thei r hands as long as possi ble, until they can no longer tolerate the pain. In cas e a participant keeps her/his ha nd in cold water for more than 2 minutes, the experimenter will ask the participants to remove their hand from the cold water. On the completion of this task, the experi menter will instruct the participant to respond to the STPI state anxiety scales and cognitive appraisals items, according to how they felt while their hands were immersed in cold water. The participants will finally be instructed to respond to the STPI trait a nxiety scale according to how they feel in general The time scheduled for the completion of the experiment were 25-35 minutes.. After the completion of the experimental se ssion, the experimenter will debrief the participants and answer any additional questions.

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37 Chapter Six Results The main goal of the present study is investigate the effects of individual differences in trait anxiety on cognitive apprai sals and emotional reactions to stressful situations. It attempts to ex amine the effects of trait anxiety on cognitive evaluative perceptions of situations bear ing perceived threat to self -esteem and physical well-being, in relation to levels of S-Anxiety. Specifica lly, the effects of trai t anxiety on cognitive appraisals and anxiety emotiona l state were compared across two distinct types of threat: psychological and physical. In the following sections, descriptive and in ferential statistics for levels of Trait anxiety, S-Anxiety (preand posttask) a nd primary and secondary appraisals are presented. Mean comparisons will also be pres ented comparing levels of pre-task anxiety to levels of post-task anxiety for each c ondition, in addition to mean comparisons across threat conditions of levels of pre-task a nd post task-anxiety levels. Multiple regression analyses representing regr ession based path models are presented last. The sample included 146 undergraduate students sampled form 26 undergraduate majors. The mean age was 20.84 (SD= 2.43). The sample consisted of 117 (80.1%) females and 29 males (19.9%) representing Wh ite (58.9%), Hispanic (15.1%), African American (17.8%), Asian American (4.8%), East Indian (1.4%), and Biracial/Multicultural (2.4%) participants.

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38 For each threat condition (psychological and Physical), means, standard deviations, and Cronbach Alpha coefficients fo r levels of T-anxiety, preand posttask S-anxiety, primary appraisals, and secondary appraisals are reported in Table (1). Table 1 Means, standard deviations, and alpha coefficients for Trait anxiety (preand post-tasks), S-Anxiety (preand posttask) and primary and secondary appraisals (for both psychological and physical tasks) Scale Mean SD Alpha Trait Anxiety Pre-tasks 18.47 4.82 .85 Psychological task S-Anxiety Pre-Psychological task 16.42 4.87 .86 Primary Appraisal-Psychological task 4.47 1.51 .61 Secondary Appraisal-Psychological task 9.26 2.12 .75 S-Anxiet y Post-Psychological task 21.88 6.06 .91 Physical task S-Anxiety Pre-Physical task 15.27 4.06 .84 Primary Appraisal-Physical task 4.07 1.33 .58 Secondary Appraisal-Physical task 10.03 1.97 .69 S-Anxiety Post-Physical task 16.98 5.00 .86 Trait Anxiety Post-tasks 17.86 5.09 .87 Levels of S-anxiety preand post psychological task were higher than S-anxiety in pre and post-physical task, respectively, indicating that participants experienced and expressed higher levels of anxiety in the ps ychological threat condi tion as compared to the Physical Threat condition. Primary appraisals of Psychologi cal task were also higher than Primary appraisals of Physical task, wh ich means that participants perceived higher levels of threat in the psychological threat condition. However, with regards to secondary appraisals, participants demonstrated lower le vels in the psychologi cal threat condition as compare to the physical threat condition. Results also suggest high levels of inte rnal consistency for scales were found, as indicated by Cronbach Alpha coefficients. Te st-retest reliability of Trait anxiety (pre

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39 tasks and post tasks) indicated high levels of stability of trait anxiety in participants (r = .86, p < .005), which is consistent with the c onceptual definition of trait anxiety as a stable personality trait. Correlation Matrix Pearson Product Moment Correlations were calculated to assess the strength and significance of the correlations be tween the majority of variables: age, Trait Anxiety Pretasks ; S-Anxiety Pre-Psychological task ; Primary Appraisal-Psychological task; Secondary Appraisal-Psychological task; S-An xiety Post-Psychological task; S-Anxiety Pre-Physical task; Primary A ppraisal-Physical task; Seconda ry Appraisal-Physical task; and Anxiety Post-Physical task. The corre lation matrix is presented in Table 3. Psychological Task Trait anxiety was significantly and positiv ely correlated with preand post SAnxiety levels, and Primary appraisal, but was not correlated significantly with Secondary appraisals. There was a negative yet significant correlation between Primary and secondary appraisals. S-anxiety post task was significantly and positively correlated with primary appraisals, yet negatively a nd significantly correlate with secondary appraisals. Physical Task In this condition, T-anxiety was significan tly correlated only with S-anxiety Prephysical task (positively correlated). No other significant correlations were found between trait anxiety and any other variables in this cond ition. S-anxiety post task was found to be significantly and positively corr elated with S-anxiety pre task, primary

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40 appraisals, and significantly and negatively with seconda ry appraisals. Primary and secondary appraisals were negatively and significantly correlated. Table 2 Pearson Product Moment Correlations of correlations between Trait anxiety (pre-tasks), Preand post task S-Anxiety (for both psychological and physical tasks) and primary and secondary appraisals (of both psychological and physical tasks). Trait Anxiety Pre-tasks 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 2. S-Anxiety PrePsychological task .413 .000 3. Primary AppraisalPsychological task .298 .000 .175 .035 4 Secondary AppraisalPsychological task -.154 .064 -.172 .038 -.380 .000 5. S-Anxiety PostPsychological task .355 .000 .310 .000 .643 .000 -.530 .000 6. S-Anxiety PrePhysical task .377 .000 .392 .000 .383 .000 -.424 .000 .612 .000 7. Primary AppraisalPhysical task .024 .774 .027 .742 .148 .075 .001 .991 .121 .147 .053 .528 8. Secondary AppraisalPhysical task -.017 .836 -.094 .257 -.108 .193 .425 .000 -.162 .051 -.145 .080 -.321 .000 9. S-Anxiety PostPhysical task .063 .448 .165 .047 .137 .100 -.084 .314 .217 .008 .225 .006 .563 .000 -.426 .000 Note. correlations coefficients in bold indicate significance at p<.001. Collectively, the pattern of correlations presented in table 3 provides support for of hypothesis 1 (“ levels of post task S-An xiety are significantly and positively correlated to T-Anxiety in the psychological threat c ondition, but not significantly correlated to TAnxiety in the Physical threat condition ”). Support was also found for hypothesis 3 (“ primary appraisals will be significantly and positively correlated with post-task SAnxiety in both conditions ”) and hypothesis 4 (“ primary appraisals will be significantly and positively correlated with posttask S-Anxiety in both conditions ”). Hypothesis 3

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41 ( primary appraisals will not be significantly correlated to secondary appraisals in either threat condition ) was not supported. Mean Comparisons Comparisons across gender: Independent Sa mple T-tests were conducted to assess for any significant differences between males and females. Females demonstrated significantly higher levels of pre-task S-Anxiety in th e Psychological condition as compared to males (t = 2.204, P < .05). No ot her significant differences between makes and females were found. Paired Sample t-Tests Several mean comparisons of post task S-Anxiety (in both co nditions), primary appraisals, and secondary apprai sals are presented in table 4. The results for the paired sample t-tests in the table provi de support for five hypotheses (“ 5. levels of post-task Sanxiety in the psychological threat conditi on will be significantly higher than levels of pre-task S-Anxiety; 6. levels of post-task S-anxiety in the phys ical threat condition will be significantly higher than levels of pre-task A-Anxiety; 7. leve ls of post-task S-anxiety in psychological threat condition will be significan tly higher than those in physical threat condition; 8. levels of primary appraisals and S-Anxiety in psychological threat condition will be significantly higher than in the Physical threat condition; 9. levels of secondary appraisals of the psychological threat condi tion will be significantly lower than in the physical threat condition” ). These results provide initial predictive evidence related to several connected elements in the proposed model of this st udy. First, there are apparent significant elevations in S-anxiety when measured im mediately before and after the execution of

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42 either a psychological or a physical task and evaluating the levels of threats associated with each task. Second, these elevations in S-Anxiety levels are higher in conditions perceived as psychologically threateni ng as opposed to conditions evaluated by participants to be physically threatening. Third, primary appraisals of psychological threats are higher than those of physical threat s within the same samp le of participants, whereas levels of secondary appraisals are higher in physical threat conditions for the same sample. Table 3 Paired sample T-tests within an d across both tasks for postask S-anxiety levels and primary and secondary appraisals Mean Diff SD SE mean t Sig Pre-task S-Anxiety (Psychological) – Post-task S-Anxiety (Psychological) 5.47 6.50 .54 10.17 .000* Pre-task S-Anxiety (Physical) – Post-task S-Anxiety (Physical) -1.71 5.70 .47 3.63 .000 Pre-task S-Anxiety (Psychological)Pre-task S-Anxiety (Physical) 1.15 4.98 .41 2.79 .000 Post-task S-Anxiety (Psychological) – Post-task S-Anxiety (Physical) 4.90 6.97 .58 8.50 .000 Primary Appraisals (Psychological) – Primary Appraisals (Physical) .40 1.86 .15 2.62 ** .010** Secondary Appraisals (Psychological) –Secondary Appraisals (Physical) .77 2.19 .18 4.22 .000 Note. df = 145 for all t-tests; *: significance at p<.001; **: significant at p<.05.

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43 Repeated Measures ANOVA Each participant responded 2 times to the S-Anxiety items in each of the experimental conditions yiel ding four means for S-Anxiet y. Repeated measures ANOVA with orthogonal post hoc tests (Swain & J ones, 1996) were conducted to assess for significant differences among the means. Mauchl y’s test of sphericity indicated that the assumption of sphericity was violated ( 2 (5) = 40.58, p < .05). Therefore, degrees of freedom were corrected using GreenhouseGeisser estimates of sphericity ( = .87). Results indicated that the f our S-Anxiety means differed significantly (F (2.6, 378.6) = 70.46, p < .05). Post hoc analyses using contrast method a nd Bonferroni Adjustment revealed that post-task S-Anxiety in the ps ychological condition was the highest among the 4 means, followed by post-task S-Anxiety in the phys ical condition (Table 5). This finding indicated that participants e xperienced the highest levels of S-Anxiety following the task of the 2-minute speech. Pr e-task S-Anxiety in the ps ychological condition was not significantly different than pretask S-Anxiety in the physical condition. With in each of the conditions, post-task S-Anxiety levels were significantly highe r than pre-task SAnxiety. Model Prediction and Testing To test for our proposed model, a regr ession-based path analytic model was conducted using simultaneous multiple regression analyses. The method of variable entry used was stepwise, which allowed predictor va riables to be entered one at a time, and then deleted once they do not contribute to the regression when considered in combination with other predictors. Usi ng LISREL 8.72 for a maximum of 250 iterations,

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44 the solution converged and produ ced differential path diagrams for each of the stressful conditions. Figures 1 and 2 show predicte d model for the psychological threat and physical threat conditions, respectively. In each of these figures, only significant regression paths were reported. The values for each path indicate significant standardized Beta path coefficients, and the percentage of variance of the predic ted variable that is accounted for by the respective predictor. .As can be seen in figure 2 for the Predicted model for psychological threat TAnxiety had a direct effect on Primary appraisals ( =.298, p<.05, R2= 8.9%), pretask SAnxiety ( =.413, p<.05, R2= 17.1%), and post task S-Anxiety ( =.355, p<.05, R2= 12.6%). Trait anxiety did not have a direct pr edictive effect on sec ondary appraisals, and hence hypothesis A was partially supported. Tr ait anxiety had a si gnificant indirect influence on S-Anxiety post ta sk as mediated Primary appr aisals, and through pre-task Sanxiety, but not through secondary appraisa ls, which represents partial support for hypothesis B. Hypothesis C was supported as results indicate d that T-anxiety had an indirect influence on primary appraisals as mediated by pre-task S-anxiety. Hypothesis D was not supported given that tr ait anxiety did not have an in direct influence on secondary appraisals as mediated by Pre-task S-a nxiety. Hypotheses E and F were supported as demonstrated by primary appraisals having a direct influence on SAnxiety post task, and secondary appraisals will ha ve a direct influence on S-A nxiety post task, respectively. Partial evidence was available for hypothesi s G as pre-task S-A nxiety had a direct influence on S-Anxiety post task, primary appraisals, but not secondary appraisals. Counter evidence was found for hypothesis H wh ere primary appraisals and secondary appraisals were actually found to ha ve a bidirectional predictive path.

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45 As depicted in figure 3 the Predicted model for physical threat condition had less significant predictive paths than in the psychol ogical threat model. As can bee seen in figure 3, trait anxiety had a direct influence only on pre-task S-Anxi ety. It did not have any direct influence on primary appraisals, s econdary appraisals, or post-task S-Anxiety. Trait anxiety also had an indirect effect on S-anxiety post task through pre task S-anxiety. Primary and secondary appraisals also showed direct predictive values for post-task SAnxiety. Primary and secondary appraisals were also found to have a bidirectional predictive path (similar to the finding in the psychological threat model.

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46 Chapter Seven Discussion This study investigated the effects of individual diffe rences in trait anxiety on cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions to stressful situations. Specifically, this study attempted at examining the effects of trait anxiety on cognitive evaluative perceptions of situations bear ing perceived psychological or physical threat to well-being, in relation to levels of S-Anxiety. To accomp lish this goal, a proposed model consisting of elements from Lazarus and Folk man Stress and Coping Model (1984) and Spielberger’s State Trait distin ctions is presented. To our knowledge, this is the first proposed model to attempt combine trait anxi ety, primary and secondary appraisals, and state anxiety and to utilize path analytic mode ls in assessing empirical and theoretical fit. This study represents a pioneer attempt at examining the em pirical fit of the theoretical framework proposed by Spielber ger 30 years ago (Spielberger, 1976). In specifying the “Trait anxiety situation evaluation State anxiety” relationship, he emphasized the importance of cognitive perceptiv e evaluations of stre ssful situations in specifying the amount of stress inherent in a situation. He theorized that individuals who are high on trait anxiety (defined as tendenc y to perceive more situations as more threatening o self esteem or psychological well being), tend to react w ith higher levels of S-Anxiety to situations that they deem to in clude stress or threat to one’s self esteem (psychological threat).

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47 While the state trait distinction was m odeled and examined in thousands of studies, to our knowledge, there has not b een a study that aimed at examining or modeling the state trait connecti on as mediated by the evaluati ve process, let alone using a within-sample design that included psychologi cal threat or physical threat conditions. A parallel research school was started by Richard Lazarus in the sixties. Lazarus and his colleagues (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), defined a cognitive appraisal as a process that is evaluative in nature and depends on attributing a certain level of stress to any given situation. From the standpoint of this study, Spie lberger’s State Tra it distinction and Lazarus’ cognitive evaluative appraisals re present complimentary and yet unexplored elements of one model that may explain the interaction of personality, environmental, cognitive and emotional elements in explaining anxiety as a process th at included a series of variables (Spielberger 1976). This study also addressed three major limitations in previous stress-anxiety studies: a) including cognitive, personality, and emotional elements to address the stressanxiety relationship from several angles; b) combining different yet complimentary elements to produce an overarching theoretical framework against which the empirical fit of the proposed model will be tested; and c) adhering to conceptualiz ations of state and trait anxiety as emotional states a nd personality traits, respectively. The results in this study are very inte resting. Although the design of the study was simple, support was found for many hypotheses. On the descriptive level, alpha coefficients were high for each of the subscal es of the STPI, which indicated impressive levels of internal consistency in these scales. It is noteworthy that the alpha coefficients

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48 for primary and secondary appraisals were al so very impressive, especially for a 3 item scale that was developed for this study. These results provide further empirical justification, to the use of the single it em approach to measurement of cognitive appraisals in this study. Results from mean comparisons section i ndicate that participants reacted with higher elevations of S-anxiet y in the psychological threat condition as compared to the physical threat condition. This finding is signif icant and unique since this is the first study that examines the differential effect of the type of stressor on the mediated path between T-anxiety and S-anxiety. The most interesting findings are probab ly the different indices of empirical and theoretical fit across the two pr edictive regression-based path analytic models of statetrait distinction in psychological and physic al threat conditions. In comparing the two models, it is interesting to note th at t-anxiety had a consistent ( and equal ) predictive influence on pre-task S-Anxiety ( =.413, p<.05, R2= 17.1%). Other interesting findings across the two models are re lated to the predictive effects of T-anxiety on primary and secondary appraisals in the psychological condition, and the lack of these effects in the physical threat condition. T-anxiety had a direct effect on post-task S-anxiety only in the psychol ogical condition and not in the physical condition. Pre-task S-anxiety had a predictive valu e on post task S-anxiety in both threat conditions, had a predictive in fluence on primary appraisals only in the psychological threat condition, and did not have any influence on secondary appraisals.

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49 Of the variables explaining the variance in post-task S-anxiety, primary appraisals explained the most variance in psychol ogical and physical threat (41.4% and 31.2%, respectively). Secondary appraisals e xplained 23.8% of post-task S-anxiety (psychological threat) and 17.6% (physical threat). Taken together, these results indicate so me interesting tentative trends: the importance of primary and secondary apprai sals in mediating the relation between Tanxiety and S-anxiety; the importance of differentiating between the types of stress associated with a specific stressful situation; and the importance and compatibility of personality, cognitive and emotional elements in the conceptualiza tion and evaluation of stressful situations.

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62 Appendices

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63 Appendix A: Primary and Seconda ry Cognitive Appraisal Items Type of cognitive appraisal Item used Primary Appraisal: Physical threat Psychological threat Personal stress “This situation would be threatening for me, e.g., causing negative consequences to my physical well being” “This situation would be threatening, e.g., causing negative consequences to my self-esteem” “This situation would cause me personal stress” Secondary Appraisal: Personal control Social support Intellectual resources “I have physical or psycho logical control in this situation” “I have social support to help me deal with this situation” “I am smart enough to deal with the situation”

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64 Appendix B: Proposed Model for T-Anxiety, Primary and Secondary Cognitive Appraisa ls, and S-Anxiety (fig1) Primary Appraisals Trait Anxiety S-Anxiety Pre task Secondary Appraisals S-Anxiety Post task

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65 Appendix C: Model for Psychological Threat Condition: T-Anxiet y, Primary and Secondary Cognitiv e Appraisals, and S-Anxiety (fig2) Primary Appraisal Trait Anxiety S-Anxiety Post task .413 17.1% .175 2.4% .298 8.9% .355 12.6% -.493 23.8% .643 41.4% -.396 15.7% .310 9.0% Secondary Appraisals S-Anxiety Pre task

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66 Appendix D: Model for Physical Threat C ondition: T-Anxiety, Primary and Secondary C ognitive Appraisals, and S-Anxiety (fig3) Primary Appraisals Trait Anxiety Secondary Appraisals S-Anxiety Post task S-Anxiety Pre task .413 17.1% -.321 9.7% .563 31.2% .225 4.4% -.426 17.6%

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About the Author Qutayba Abdullatif received his BA and MA Degrees in Psychology from the American University of Beir ut in 1998 and 2000, respectivel y. He joined the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida in 2001. He received his second MA Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2004 and completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the University of California, San Diego. He was awarded his Ph.D. Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2007. During his tenure as a graduate student and a pre-doctoral intern, Qutayba was actively involved in multiple research, clinical, teaching and administrative positions with in the field of Psychology. His 8,000 mile journey landed him in Southern California, where he still re sides, enjoying perfect sunny days that make him fall in love with life all over again.


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Effects of trait anxiety and cognitive appraisals on emotional reactions to psychological and physical stressors
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of individual differences in trait anxiety on cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions to stressful situations. Specifically, the effects of trait anxiety on the evaluation of psychological and physical threats to well-being were examined in relation to state-anxiety. To accomplish this goal, a proposed model consisting of elements from the Lazarus and Folkman Stress and Coping Model (1984) and Spielberger's State Trait distinctions is presented. To our knowledge, this is the first proposed model to attempt to combine trait anxiety, primary and secondary appraisals, and state anxiety and to utilize path analytic models in assessing empirical and theoretical fit. Results from mean comparisons indicate that participants reacted with higher elevations of S-anxiety in the psychological threat condition as compared to the physical threat condition. This finding is significant and unique since this is the first study that examines the differential effect of the type of stressor on the mediated path between T-anxiety and S-anxiety. Additional analyses indicated that T-Anxiety also influenced primary and secondary cognitive appraisals and participants with higher T-Anxiety demonstrated higher levels of primary appraisals and lower levels of secondary appraisals.
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