The effects of ego threat, physical threat and ego-physical threat on state anxiety

Freeman, Donald Cecil (1978) The effects of ego threat, physical threat and ego-physical threat on state anxiety. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The main purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of ego threat, physical threat, and the combination of ego and physical threat on state anxiety (A-State) arousal for persons who differ in trait anxiety (A-Trait). Subjects were categorized as low or high A-Trait on the basis of extreme scores on the State-Trait, Anxiety Inventory - Trait Scale. The measure of A-State was the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory - State Scale. Differential instructions were used to produce ego threat, physical threat, ego-physical threat and no threat (Control) conditions. -- The experimental procedure consisted of a Rest Period, a Performance Period in which a memory task was administered, a Feedback Period, a Test Period in which the memory task was readministered and a second Feedback Period. Upon completion of the Performance Period, subjects were randomly assigned to the experimental conditions. A-State measures were obtained after the Rest Period and the second Feedback Period. -- On the basis of Spielberger's (1972b) Trait State Anxiety Theory, it was hypothesized that high and low A-Trait subjects would manifest increases in A-State in response to the ego and physical threats. It was also expected that in-creases in A-State as a function of ego threat would be greater for high A-Trait than low A-Trait individuals, but no differentiation as a function of physical threat would occur. -- In all experimental conditions, scores increased from the Rest to the Test Period. These increases were significantly greater in the ego and physical threat inducing conditions than in the no threat (Control) condition. -- Expectations that High and Low A-Trait subjects would manifest differential responses in A-State as a function of ego threat but not physical threat were only partly met. While High A-Trait subjects responded with significantly greater increases in A-State in all conditions having a direct ego threat arising from failure feedback, in the one condition which consisted of anticipation or potential for ego threat (shame) tied to the physical threat, there was no significant difference between the groups in A-State response. Also, unexpectedly, differential A-State responses for the High and Low A-Trait subjects were found in the condition consisting of only physical threat. -- Several explanations for the results of the present study were suggested and recommendations for future research were made.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5835
Item ID: 5835
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 68-75.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1978
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Anxiety

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