Curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

Curvilinear relationships between statistics anxiety and performance among Equity in learning Does the text relate statistical education to various cultures. Curvilinear relationships between statistics anxiety and performance Statistics anxiety, trait anxiety, learning behavior, and performance. Eur. This idea of a curvilinear relationship between job demands and how that challenge stressors relate curvilinearly to anxiety and emotional relationships with exhaustion, motivation to learn, and learning performance.

Instead, challenge demands such as task complexity and work pressure are perceived by employees as opportunities to learn and achieve, and therefore they create an opportunity for personal growth and goal achievement Cavanaugh et al.

However, besides their motivational effect, challenge demands are also energy-draining, manifested in the positive relationship with psychological strain and ill health Boswell et al.

The theory and empirical research on challenge demands suggest that work pressure has the potential to stimulate as well as deplete work outcomes; a dual function that is supported by an inverted U-shaped relationship between challenge demands on one hand and performance, motivation, job satisfaction, and other important work outcomes on the other hand Xie and Johns, ; De Jonge and Schaufeli, ; Zivnuska et al. To explain this curvilinear relationship, researchers often draw on the Yerkes-Dodson law Yerkes and Dodson, and activation theory Gardner, ; Gardner and Cummings, Both theories suggest that at very low levels of activation, people are apathetic.

Therefore, increases in work-related stimulation have an energizing effect when the current stimulation level is low. Therefore, drawing on the Yerkes-Dodson law Yerkes and Dodson, and activation theory Gardner, ; Gardner and Cummings,we expect within-person variation in work pressure to relate to within-person variation in task performance in an inverted U-shaped way.

curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

Work pressure has an inverted U-shaped within-person relationship with task performance. In particular, when working under little work pressure, people may feel in control, but at the same time they might feel under-stimulated, frustrated, and passive Gardner, ; Gardner and Cummings, ; Zivnuska et al.

As a result of this mixture of experiences, their state CSE will be sub-optimal.

Statistics anxiety and performance: blessings in disguise

This mixture of ingredients i. Finally, when work pressure grows further it might become overwhelming, there by depleting the sense of self-efficacy and self-worth, evoking the feeling that the person is no longer in control, and boosting state neuroticism because of increased feelings of anxiety Zivnuska et al. This idea of a curvilinear relationship between job demands and how one acts, feels, and thinks has been supported by research showing that challenge stressors relate curvilinearly to anxiety and emotional exhaustion Xie and Johns, ; De Jonge and Schaufeli, In summary, we suggest that the relationship between work pressure and state CSE is inverted U-shaped; it peaks at moderate levels and declines at low and high levels of work pressure.

Work pressure has an inverted U-shaped within-person relationship with state CSE. Although there is to the best of our knowledge only one within-person study on the positive relationship between CSE and task performance Debusscher et al.

curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

An important reason for the positive relationship between CSE and task performance is that individuals who are high on CSE are better at setting goals, working toward them, and are as a result more motivated to perform their jobs. Indeed, both in a lab experiment and a field study, Erez and Judge demonstrated that CSE related to task motivation, persistence, goal setting, goals commitment, activity level, and task performance.

PSY 150 Learning Theory and Anxiety

Building on these findings, we hypothesize that day-to day variation in state CSE relates positively to day-to day variation in task performance, which, when combined with the foregoing hypotheses, implies that state CSE is expected to mediate the curvilinear within-person relationship between work pressure and task performance. State CSE mediates the inverted U-shaped within-person relationship between work pressure and task performance.

This expectation follows from the conceptualization of traits as individual differences in the sensitivity to situational provocation. Building on the idea of traits as situational sensitivities, we argue that trait CSE relates to contingent units of CSE i.

That is, for a person high in trait CSE, we expect the level of state CSE to be less contingent upon the level of work pressure because they are less susceptible to it. This reasoning is in line with the finding that people high in trait neuroticism react more strongly to negative environmental features than people low in neuroticism, even when confronted with relatively small problems Suls and Martin, ; Debusscher et al. In the same vein, Bolger and Schilling demonstrated that people high in trait neuroticism have an increased reactivity to stressful situations.

Finally, for self-esteem, it has been shown that people high in trait self-esteem are protected from the effects of external factors Mossholder et al. As emotional stability being the counterpart of neuroticismhigh self-esteem, and high self-efficacy are indicators of high CSE, these findings suggest that people high in trait CSE might be less susceptible to variation in work pressure than low trait CSE people.

Materials and Methods Participants Fifty-five employees 33 women from different Belgian companies participated in the study. On average, respondents were Fifteen participants had a secondary school degree, 12 completed a higher professional education, and 28 completed higher academic education.

In terms of job content, 16 worked in logistics and distribution, 13 in governmental and non-profit organizations, 6 in health care, 6 in telecom, 4 in the financial sector, 1 in chemistry and pharmacy, 3 in human resources, 2 in communication, and 4 in other jobs.

Ten participants worked part-time seven participants worked 4 days, one participant worked 3 days, and two worked 2. We recruited participants in several ways. We posted a call on the intranet of the Flemish education networks, in the alumni newsletter of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and we emailed personal contacts.

In these calls, we explained the goal of the study and stressed that the anonymity of records would be ensured.

We only contacted people again who indicated that they were willing to participate in the study via email or orally. Participants were enrolled in a day daily diary study in which trait CSE was measured at baseline, while work pressure, state CSE, and task performance were assessed daily. For the daily diary part, participants received an email each working day including a link to a survey in which they had to report on their level of work pressure, state CSE, and level of task performance, and they did so for 10 consecutive working days.

At the beginning of each survey, we again stressed that the data would be made anonymous. Moreover, participants could stop participating in the study whenever they wanted. All scales, as well as the items within each scale, were randomized.

curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

To allow for a momentary or state measure of CSE, we slightly adapted the items e. Work Pressure Work pressure was measured using the three-item scale of Bakker et al.

Similar to the state CSE scale, we slightly adapted it to allow for daily ratings of work pressure e. Task Performance Task performance was measured using the seven-item task performance subscale of Williams and Anderson Relationship between statistics anxiety and performance Evidence relating statistics anxiety with performance should be analyzed carefully because often the concept of statistics anxiety is defined and measured very imprecisely.

These variables, however, are not to be equated with statistics anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, mental disorganization, physiological arousal etc.

This scoping identified 11 studies that investigated the correlation between examination performance and statistics anxiety using an appropriate definition for anxiety. Birenbaum and Eylath with first- and second-year students in education; Chiesi and Primi with measures of statistics anxiety and mid-course and final grades in a sample of psychology students; Lacasse and Chiocchio with students in a psychometrics class; Macher et al.

Three studies argued that the relationship between performance and statistics anxiety depended on students' academic background or the instructional context.

curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

Bell found zero-correlations for business students who started their university education immediately after leaving school and moderate, yet significant correlations for students who started their university education at an older age and after some vocational experiences.

Statistics anxiety in comparison to other predictors of performance Altogether, these low to modest correlations cast some doubt on the influence of statistics anxiety on performance. Thus, the question arises: Few of the 11 studies described above have measured statistics anxiety and performance together with other predictors for performance. This is made complicated by the lack of uniform testing for acquiring statistical skills and arguments that new thinking is necessary in statistical assessment more generally Ruggeri et al.

Some studies focused on cognitive variables. For example, inductive reasoning and high school mathematics grade were significantly related to statistics achievement in Birenbaum and Eylathbasic mathematical abilities in Chiesi and Primi Mathematical ability and the level and number of courses in mathematics in school were related to performance in Lalonde and Gardner but less than statistics anxiety. Academic self-concept is related to the actual competence in a field Marsh and Yeung, and to more efficient learning strategies.

Similarly, greater interest is linked to more time spent on tasks in a domain as well as to higher performance. In studies by Keeley et al.

Statistics anxiety and performance: blessings in disguise

Generally, prior knowledge and variables that are related to prior knowledge but also self-concept and interest are strong predictors for future achievement Marsh and Yeung, Studies which investigated the combined relationship between these variables, statistics anxiety, and performance show negative relations to anxiety but positive ones to performance Lalonde and Gardner, ; Chiesi and Primi, ; Macher et al.

These studies suggest to look not only at correlations but to investigate the interrelations between several variables. Mechanisms linking statistics anxiety to performance The cognitive-interference approach Eysenck et al. Anxiety leads to increased attentiveness to task-irrelevant aspects and thus subtracts cognitive resources from the examination task at hand.

curvilinear relationship between anxiety and learning

Students with high statistics anxiety may invest less effort and time for learning, use less efficient learning strategies, and consequently may be ill-prepared for examinations. Yet, both approaches cannot explain zero-correlations between statistics anxiety and performance. Findings of Macher et al. Prior to the examination, statistics anxiety as well as other predictors for performance were measured self-concept in mathematics, interest in statistics, etc.