2012. Vol.3, No.7, 518-524
Published Online July 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/psych) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2012.37075
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Multi-Informant Test Anxiety Assessment of Adolescents
Jody Vincent Harpell, Jac J. W. Andrews
Division of Applied Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Received March 23rd, 2012; revised April 25th, 2012; accepted May 28th, 2012
A total of 263 junior and senior high school students (grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; ages 12 to 19) with rela-
tively more informants identifying as females (57.4%) than males (42.6%) and more junior high school
students (68.3%) than high school students (31.7%), along with 267 parents and 167 teachers responded
to a student, parent, and teacher version of the German Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI-G) (Hoddapp &
Benson, 1997). All reliabilities for all TAI-G scales for all three samples were above .70. The resulting
data were fitted to two, three, and four factor models of test anxiety based on theoretical and empirical
evidence. The four factor model (worry, emotion, distraction, lack of confidence) of the reduced (17 item)
version of the TAI-G (Hoddapp & Benson, 1997) yielded the best fitting model for students (comparative
fit index = .97; residual mean square = .042), parents (comparative fit index = .95; residual mean square
= .073), and teachers (comparative fit index = .96; residual mean square = .080), thus providing very
strong support for the proposed model. Sex, age, grade, and informant differences are presented and dis-
cussed. In conclusion, this study supports further research and use of a multi-informant assessment system
of test anxiety.
Keywords: Test Anxiety; Multi-Informant Assessment; Test Anxiety Assessment; Adolescents; Junior
The construct of Test Anxiety (TA) has undergone consider-
able evolution since Sarason and Mandler’s (1952) early re-
search demonstrating a link between anxiety and poor test per-
formance. This foundational study was followed by the devel-
opment of the Test Anxiety Scale for Children (TASC; Sarason
et al., 1960) which measured TA among children as a unitary
construct. Follow-up research suggested that TA was a multi-
dimensional construct which could be divided into two funda-
mental components: Worry and Emotionality (Liebert & Morris,
1967). Worry represented the cognitive concerns relating to
failure and consequences of failure, whereas Emotionality rep-
resented the physiological symptomatology associated with
anxiety (e.g., heart racing). Later, several studies supported the
inclusion of Cognitive Obstruction or Cognitive Interference
(McKeachie, 1984; Swanson & Howell, 1996; Tyron, 1980;
Wine, 1971). Sarason (1984) agreed, claiming that both worry
(i.e., preoccupation with failure, negative self-talk) and cogni-
tive interference (i.e., disruptive/blocking thoughts) could more
accurately describe the cognitive domain of TA. As a result,
this factor was represented in Sarason’s (1984) Reactions to
Tests (RTT) scales, developed through factor analysis on a
sample of undergraduate students. In an effort to further de-
velop the construct of TA, Carver and Scheier (1984) proposed
that Lack of Confidence should be included in the TA frame-
work. Eventually, these contributions led to the development of
a commonly utilized and accepted measure of TA in recent
research: the German Test Anxiety Index (TAI-G; Hodapp,
Research relative to the psychometric properties of the
TAI-G in German and American populations has revealed high
reliability and validity across the various sub-domains (Hodapp,
1991, 1995; Hodapp & Benson, 1997; Keith, Hodapp, Scher-
meller-Engel, & Moosbrugger, 2003; Musch & Broder, 1999)
and support for a four factor model of TA: Worry, Emotionality,
Interference, and Lack of Confidence (Hodapp, 1991, 1995),
with Worry consistently demonstrating a greater negative im-
pact on test performance compared to the other factors (Def-
fenbacher, 1980; Hembree, 1988; Liebert & Morris, 1967).
Assessment of Test Anxiety
Assessment of TA using scales designed to measure factors
known to comprise the construct of TA has relied exclusively
on self-reports. This practice continues despite the broad use of
multi-informant procedures in the field of anxiety assessment at
large. According to Zeidner (1998), there is some evidence that
children report more internalizing symptoms than parents
(Angold et al., 1987; Edelbrock et al., 1986). Reliance on
self-reporting, however, is not the norm in the broad scheme
of anxiety measurement. Typically, anxious symptomatology
is assessed within a multi-informant assessment framework,
whereby self-reports are compared to observations made by
parents, teachers, and other sources (Jensen, Rubio-STipec,
Canino, Bird, Dulcan, Schwab-Stone et al., 1999; Kazdin, 1986;
Kendal & Flanery-Schroeder, 1998; Ollendick, 1986; Grills &
Ollendick, 2003; Comer & Kendall, 2004). As outlined by
Brown-Jacobsen, Wallace, & Whiteside (2011), the majority
of researchers and clinicians support the utility of multi-in-
formant approaches to general anxiety assessment, as they are
held to enhance diagnostic accuracy and direct more informed
treatment choices compared to self-evaluations alone. Despite
this endorsement of multi-informant assessment for anxiety,
TA assessment continues to rely upon self-evaluation proce-
J. V. HARPELL, J. J. W. ANDREWS
Aim of the Study
The current study was primarily undertaken to investigate the
possibility of establishing a multi-informant assessment frame-
work for TA. Hence, the aim was to examine the construct
validity of TA across multiple raters. A secondary aim of this
study was to examine sex, age, grade, and informant differences
with respect to TA. The major questions to be addressed in this
study were: (1) Is the factor structure of the English version of
the TAI-G, child self-report, maintained within a student sam-
ple from grades 7 through 12, as well as across parent and
teacher ratings of grade 7 through 12 students’ TA? (2) Do
TAI-G subscale and Total scores differ as a function of demo-
graphic variables (i.e., age, sex, grade)? and (3) Do TAI-G
subscale and Total scores differ as a function of type of Infor-
mant (i.e., student, parent, teacher)?
The sample for the study was grades 7 through 12 students
from one school district. Participants were randomly selected
from a volunteer pool. When possible, the study also included
one of each student’s legal guardians, and one of their teachers.
The final analysis was conducted with the participation of 263
students (37.7%), 267 parents (38.3%), and 167 teachers
(23.9%). Demographic characteristics of the student sample
were determined for sex, age, and grade. This analysis revealed
that relatively more females (i.e., approximately 57.4%) com-
pared to males (i.e., approximately 42.6%) took part in the
study. The age range for students fell between 12 (7.2%) and 19
(1.1%).The grade range for students fell between 7 (20.6%) and
12 (11.1%). Participating schools included 10 junior high
schools (i.e., grades 7 to 9) and 5 high schools (i.e., grades 10
to 12). As such, representation was slightly more than twice
that for younger/junior high (i.e., approximately 68.3%) stu-
dents compared to older/senior high (i.e., approximately 31.7%)
students). Demographic characteristics of age and sex were not
determined for parents and teachers.
Once permission from parents, students, and teachers was
obtained, one student from each class was randomly selected
for participation. The homes of participating students and their
parents were contacted via phone by the (1st) researcher and
two research assistants. The student, teacher, and parent scales
were administered over the telephone after a session of practice
trials during which all research assistants and the researcher
agreed upon a specific framework within which to make intro-
ductions and administer the scales via telephone. Using tele-
phone correspondence was a necessary condition required by
the school board. The requirement ensured that any disruption
of student time during school hours was eliminated.
Student TA was assessed using the English version of the
German Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI-G; Hodapp & Benson,
1997; see Table 1). Studies have suggested that this instrument
is psychometrically sound. Confirmatory factor analysis (Ho-
dapp & Benson, 1997) supported the Lieber and Morris (1967)
dimensions of TA (i.e., Worry and Emotionality), as well as
Sarason’s (1984) Interference, and Carver and Scheier’s (1984)
Lack of Confidence among a sample of university students. The
Test anxiety items.
1. I am confident about my performance.
2. I think about how important the examination is for me.
3. I get “butterflies”.
4. I think about my abilities.
5. Distracting thoughts keep “popping” into my head.
6. I worry about whether I can cope with being examined.
7. I am “up-tight”.
8. I have faith in my own performance.
9. I am thinking about the consequences of failing.
10. I ask myself whether my performance will be good enough.
11. I am preoccupied by other thoughts which distract me.
12. I feel uneasy.
13. I know that I can rely on myself.
14. I think about how important it is for me to receive a good result.
15. I easily lose my train of thoughts.
16. My heart pounds.
17. I worry about my results.
18. I feel anxious.
19. I forget things because I am too preoccupied with my
20. I am satisfied with myself.
21. I am concerned about my grades.
22. I tremble with fear.
23. I worry that something might go wrong.
24. My concentration is interrupted by interfering thoughts.
25. I feel overwhelmed.
26. I think that I will succeed.
27. I think about what will happen if I don’t do well.
28. I feel upset.
29. I am convinced that I will do well.
30. I have the feeling everything is so difficult for me.
TAI-G is purported to have strong psychometric properties
among college-aged students, as well as mixed samples con-
sisting of college-aged and adolescent students, with each of the
four factors (i.e., Worry, Emotionality, Interference, and Lack
of Confidence) demonstrating reliability and validity among
German and American populations (Hodapp, 1991, 1995; Ho-
dapp & Benson, 1997; Keith et al., 2003; Musch & Broder,
1999; Stober, 2004). Total scores and subscales demonstrate
alpha coefficients, ranging from .79 to .94, providing adequate
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 519
J. V. HARPELL, J. J. W. ANDREWS
evidence of internal consistency (Hodapp, 1991). For this study,
the wording of each item of the TAI-G self-report was slightly
altered by the researcher to develop the parent and teacher ver-
sions. For example, instead of “I worry,” the item will state
“your child worries” or “this student worries” (permission pro-
vided by V. Hodapp through email correspondence).
Descripti ve A n a ly ses
For the current study, Table 2 presents descriptive statistics
(i.e. number of participants, raw score means, standard devia-
tions, ranges) for each of the TAI-G subscales (i.e., Worry,
Emotionality, Lack of Confidence, and Interference) as well as
the TAI-G total score for each of the three samples (i.e., stu-
dents, parents, and teachers). To assess the normality of the
scales, skewness and kurtosis values were computed. Skewness
and kurtosis values between the values of –2 and +2 are con-
sidered acceptable (Bachman, 2004). All of the skewness and
kurtosis values were well within the acceptable range for all
TAI-G scales for all samples. Cronbach’s alpha internal consis-
tency reliabilities for the TAI-G scales are presented in Table 3.
Reliabilities should be above .70 to be considered acceptable
(Cronbach, 1951). All reliabilities for all TAI-G scales for all
three samples were above .70.
Confir matory Analyses
Confirmatory Factor Analyses (CFAs) using Lisrel 8.8 were
Descriptive statistics for TAI-G.
N M SD Range
TAI-G (student ratings)
Worry 263 26.93 5.48 13 - 40
Emotionality 261 14.55 4.51 8 - 32
Lack of confidence 263 10.99 3.76 6 - 23
Interference 262 11.54 4.05 6 - 24
Total 260 63.99 12.20 33 - 108
TAI-G (parent ratings)
Worry 267 26.75 5.71 13 - 40
Emotionality 264 14.27 4.99 8 - 30
Lack of confidence 265 10.74 3.82 6 - 24
Interference 266 11.40 4.34 6 - 24
Total 263 63.23 13.36 35 - 102
TAI-G (teacher ratings)
Worry 167 25.96 6.36 10 - 53
Emotionality 165 12.72 3.92 8 - 28
Lack of confidence 166 12.60 4.70 6 - 23
Interference 166 9.85 3.92 6 - 22
Total 165 61.25 12.07 36 - 97
Internal consistency (standardized alpha) for TAI-G.
N Number of items Reliability
TAI-G (student ratings)
Worry 26310 .77
Emotionality 2618 .80
Lack of confidence 2636 .84
Interference 2626 .84
Total 26030 .86
TAI-G (parent ratings)
Worry 26510 .78
Emotionality 2648 .86
Lack of confidence 2656 .83
Interference 2666 .86
Total 26330 .89
TAI-G (teacher ratings)
Worry 16310 .73
Emotionality 1658 .84
Lack of confidence 1666 .92
Interference 1666 .88
Total 16230 .84
applied to the students in the current sample to determine
whether the 30-item four-factor model could be replicated
among a younger, school-age sample. The CFA procedure
specified a model with four latent factors and each survey item
loading on its respective factor. This procedure was repeated
across parent and teacher TAI-G ratings of student TA in order
to test the consistency of the four-factor structure within a
multi-informant assessment framework. Table 4 presents the
standardized factor loadings for the 30-item 4-factor solutions
for each sample. As also indicated by the model-fit statistics in
Table 5, the student sample provided the best fit, followed by
the parent sample, and finally the teacher sample. The slightly
poorer fit in the teacher sample was also evidenced in less
agreement in the factor loadings for this sample. Nevertheless,
the four-factor structure was reasonable in all three samples.
Table 5 depicts the results of CFAs applied to examine the
four-factor structure of the 30-item TAI-G. CFAs were also
applied to examine alternative models of TA, including a
four-factor 17-item version of the TAI-G (Hodapp & Benson,
1997) and other reduced factor models (e.g., Worry and Emo-
tion; Worry, Emotion, and Distraction). Good model fit was
determined when the RMSEA was smaller than .08 and the CFI
was larger than .95, although values of at least .90 can be con-
sidered acceptable (Browne & Cudeck, 1993; Hu & Bentler,
1999; Wen, Hau, & Marsh, 2004). Although not considered one
of the more commonly used fit indices, GFIs were also in-
cluded and considered acceptable when values of at least .90
were obtained (Byrne, 2001; Shevlin & Miles, 1999). As de-
picted in Table 5, the RMSEA criteria was met for the student
sample when CFA tested the four-factor model on the 30-item
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
J. V. HARPELL, J. J. W. ANDREWS
Standardized factor loadings for 30-item 4-factor solutions for student,
parent, and teacher samples.
Student Parent Teacher
W E LC I W E LC I W ELC I
TAI-G 2 .25 .34 .74
TAI-G 4 .24 .27 .55
TAI-G 6 .31 .56 .14
TAI-G 9 .69 .65 .66
TAI-G 10 .50 .58 .45
TAI-G 14 .30 .21 .64
TAI-G 17 .70 .74 .56
TAI-G 21 .60 .62 .77
TAI-G 23 .55 .47 .24
TAI-G 27 .69 .53 .60
TAI-G 3 .50 .57 .59
TAI-G 7 .49 .68 .47
TAI-G 12 .45 .65 .53
TAI-G 16 .56 .56 .38
TAI-G 18 .51 .68 .54
TAI-G 22 .52 .41 .23
TAI-G 25 .46 .55 .50
TAI-G 28 .51 .53 .35
TAI-G 1 .60 .63 .80
TAI-G 8 .60 .61 .80
TAI-G 13 .57 .52 .72
TAI-G 20 .54 .58 .66
TAI-G 26 .58 .58 .71
TAI-G 29 .55 .56 .83
TAI-G 5 .70 .74 .76
TAI-G 11 .67 .77 .70
TAI-G 15 .66 .70 .65
TAI-G 19 .61 .66 .58
TAI-G 24 .68 .71 .66
TAI-G 30 .39 .47 .34
Note: W = Worry, E = Emotionality, LC = Lack of Confidence, and I = Interfer-
TAI-G results (RMSEA = .068); however, this criteria was not
met for the parent and teacher samples (parents: RMSEA
= .093; teachers: RMSEA = .110). The CFIs for the TAI-G for
each sample ranged from .91 to .92, failing to meet the recom-
mended criteria of .95 for a good fit, but still within the accept-
able range. CFAs were also applied to alternative (i.e., reduced
item and reduced factor) versions of the TAI-G in order to test
model fit. Fit indices for these CFAs are also presented in Ta-
ble 5. This analysis revealed that a 17-item four-factor TAI-G
model, also developed by Hodapp and Benson (1997), yielded
the best-fitting model overall, meeting the suggested the
Overall model fit indices for test anxiety models across student, parent,
and teacher ratings.
2 df p 2/df GFI CFIRMSEA
Two factors: Worry & emotion (18 items)
Students 384.43 134 .00 2.87 .84 .88.095
Parents 531.18 134 .00 3.96 .77 .85.130
Teachers 548.30 134 .00 4.09 .69 .81.150
Three factors: Worry, emotion, & lack of confidence (24 items)
Students 585.23 249 .00 2.35 .83 .90.079
Parents 813.99 249 .00 3.27 .76 .88.110
Teachers 788.17 249 .00 3.16 .69 .89.120
Four factors: Worry, emotion, interference,
& lack of confidence (30 items)
Students 794.15 399 .00 1.99 .82 .92.068
Parents 1081.83 399 .00 2.71 .75 .91.093
Teachers 1130.90 399 .00 2.83 .68 .92.110
Two factors: Worry & emotion (9 items)
Students 67.32 26 .00 2.59 .95 .95.075
Parents 112.83 26 .00 4.34 .91 .92.110
Teachers 81.92 26 .00 3.15 .90 .93.120
Three factors: Worry, emotion, & distraction (12 items)
Students 99.84 51 .00 1.96 .94 .96.062
Parents 166.46 51 .00 3.26 .90 .94.095
Teachers 125.44 51 .00 2.46 .88 .94.098
Four factors: Worry, emotion, distraction, & lack of confidence (17 items)
Students 168.62 113 .00 1.49 .93 .97.042
Parents 271.56 113 .00 2.40 .89 .95.073
Teachers 227.21 113 .00 2.01 .86 .96.080
Note: Only subjects with complete data were used. Sample sizes are as follows:
Students (N = 260), Parents (N = 263), Teachers (N = 162).
RMSEA (≤.08) and CFI (≥.95) criteria across all three samples.
Since the 30-item four-factor version of the TAI-G is the focus
of this study and had CFIs for all participants within an accept-
able range, the primary focus of subsequent analyses was based
upon this version of the TAI-G. However, post hoc analyses for
the 17 item model resulted in virtually identical findings.
Demograp hi c Analyses
Two-Way Multivariate Analyses of Variance (MANOVA)
was used to examine sex differences, grade level differences,
and the sex × grade level interaction on TAI-G scale scores for
the student, parent, and teacher samples. The MANOVA results
indicated a significant main effect of sex for the TAI-G student
sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .92, F (4, 232) = 4.69, p = .001, 2
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 521
J. V. HARPELL, J. J. W. ANDREWS
= .075, indicating a medium effect overall (Cohen, 1988; Le-
vine & Hullett, 2002). The data yielded significantly higher
scores for females compared to males on Worry (p = .001, 2
= .045, a small effect), Emotionality (p < .01, 2
= .040, a
small effect), and the TAI-G Total Score (p = .01, 2
a small effect). There was a significant main effect of sex for
the TAI-G parent sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .94, F (4, 229) =
3.55, p < .01, 2
= .058, indicating a medium effect overall.
The data yielded significantly higher scores for females com-
pared to males on Worry (p < .01, 2
= .034, a small effect),
Emotionality (p < .05, 2
= .017, a small effect), and the
TAI-G Total Score (p = .051, 2
= .016, a small effect).
There was a significant main effect of sex for the TAI-G
teacher sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .92, F (4, 146) = 3.06, p < .01,
= .077, indicating a medium effect overall. The data
yielded significantly higher scores for females on Worry (p
< .05, 2
= .033, a small effect) and significantly higher
scores for males on Interference (p < .05, 2
= .030, a small
MANOVA results for the main effects of grade level on the
TAI-G scales indicated a significant main effect of level for the
TAI-G student sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .96, F (4, 232) = 2.43,
p < .05, 2
= .040, indicating a small effect overall. The
TAI-G analysis yielded significantly higher scores for juniors
compared to seniors on Worry (p < .05, 2
= .027, a small
effect). There was not a significant main effect of level for the
TAI-G parent sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .99, F (4, 229) = .56, p
> .05, 2
= .010, indicating a small effect overall. There was
also no significant main effect of level for the TAI-G teacher
sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .97, F (4, 146) = 1.23, p > .05, 2
= .033. There was no significant sex × level interaction for
any of the MANOVAs. The multivariate test results were as
follows: The TAI-G student sample, Wilks’ Lambda = .98, F
(4, 232) = .88, p > .05; the TAI-G parent sample, Wilks’
Lambda = .97, F (4, 229) = 2.00, p > .05; the TAI-G teacher
One-way ANOVAs comparing 12, 15, and 18-year-olds were
conducted on the TAI-G scales as rated by students, parents,
and teachers. These groupings represent participant age com-
parisons between the youngest, those in the middle, and the
oldest. One-way ANOVAs were first conducted for the student
self-rated TAI-G subscales and Total scores. The overall
ANOVAs yielded a significant difference only for the Emo-
tionality subscale. Post-hoc comparisons between specific groups
were then conducted for Emotionality. The analysis yielded
significantly higher Emotionality scores for the 12-year-old
students (M = 16.89, SD = 4.24) as compared to the 15-year-old
students (M = 13.90, SD = 3.94; p < .05; comparison automati-
cally adjusted by Bonferroni). No other comparisons showed
significant differences between any age groups for the student
ratings. One-way ANOVA comparisons were then conducted
for the parent-rated TAI-G subscales and Total score compari-
sons as well as the teacher-rated scales. The comparisons
yielded no significant differences between any age categories
for any of the TAI-G subscales or Total TAI-G scale for either
the parent or teacher ratings.
A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was
conducted to compare TAI-G scores across students, parents,
and teachers. A repeated measures analysis was necessary be-
cause the different informants each rated the same student
hence, each student had a student (self) rating, a teacher rating,
and a parent rating. As mentioned earlier, all TAI-G scales were
assessed to be sufficiently normally distributed according to
their skewness and kurtosis values; hence the variables were
appropriate for use in the ANOVA. Mauchly’s test of sphericity,
which needs to be assessed for the within-subjects ANOVA,
was also tested for each of the ANOVAs. Sphericity was not
violated for Worry, Interference, or Total Score. It was violated
for Emotionality and Lack of Confidence. When sphericity is
violated, the degrees of freedom need to be modified by using a
correction factor such as the Greenhouse-Geisser Epsilon. This
correction was applied to the results for Emotionality and Lack
of Confidence. However, it should also be noted that the
Greenhouse-Geisser results were exactly the same as the results
when sphericity is assumed.
The repeated measures ANOVA yielded significant differ-
ences between informants on subscales Emotionality, Lack of
Confidence, and Interference (all ps < .001). Post-hoc com-
parisons were conducted to determine the direction of effects
among informants. All p-values for post-hoc comparisons were
corrected in SPSS by the Bonferroni adjustment for multiple
Post-hoc analysis for student Emotionality revealed that stu-
dent and parent ratings were not significantly different from
one another (p > .05), but both were significantly higher than
the ratings of teachers (ps < .01). This pattern of results was
replicated for the Lack of Confidence scale, with higher parent
and student ratings compared to teachers (ps < .001), but no
significant differences between parents and students themselves
(p > .05). This pattern was, again, replicated for the Interfer-
ence scale, such that the student and parent ratings yielded sig-
nificantly higher scores than teacher ratings (ps < .01), but stu-
dent and parent ratings were not significantly discrepant (p
From this study, it was determined that the four-factor model
of TA is best applied to the sample within a multi-informant
system of assessment, using a reduced 17 item version of the
TAI-G. Future research should aim to corroborate these find-
ings and develop normative data for student TA across multiple
raters. In order to determine internal consistency, Cronbach’s
alpha (Cronbach, 1951) was calculated for the items of each
subscale and Total scores across all three informant samples.
All TAI-G subscales across all informant samples exceeded the
criteria for acceptable reliability of .70 (Cronbach, 1951), re-
maining consistent with the range of alpha coefficients (.79
to .94) reported by the author for Total scores and subscales
Moreover, the results of the self-rated TAI-G in this study
provide support for female susceptibility for TA with regard to
two of the four factors (i.e. Worry & Emotionality); consistent
with findings from research that has utilized the traditional
two-factor model of TA (Liebert & Morris, 1967). Analyses of
sex effects across all informants revealed concordance between
students and parents with respect to their identification of test
anxiety symptoms for both males and females. This stu-
dent-parent concordance suggests that parents are able to accu-
rately gauge differences between males and females with regard
to TA symptoms. Therefore, clinical decisions and insights
regarding gender that are drawn from concordant parent and
student data would likely be well founded. Equally important,
however, are discordant reports. For example, this study con-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
J. V. HARPELL, J. J. W. ANDREWS
tributes the unique, and unexpected, finding associated with
teacher endorsement of male susceptibility to symptoms of
Cognitive Interference. This is interesting because teachers
provide the only analysis of TA symptoms that is based on
first-hand observation, as well as a perspective that has never
been studied in the field of TA. The possibility that males are
more prone than females to developing Cognitive Interference
represents a major shift from the traditional association between
females and anxiety in general. Such discordant information is
also very important in clinical practice, as it can be used as an
indicator of possible informant biases such as self-preservation,
avoidance, and resistance relative to their ratings.
Results associated with age and grade level provided sub-
stantiation of the four-factor model of TA across a sample of
English speaking adolescents. Previous research substantiating
the four-factor model was conducted on mixed age groups of
American and German samples in different educational envi-
ronments. The results of the student self-rated TAI-G analysis
revealed that the youngest students demonstrated higher Emo-
tionality compared to those in their mid-teens. The oldest teens,
however, demonstrated higher Lack of Confidence compared to
students in their mid-teens. For the Emotionality and Lack of
Confidence factors, 12-year-old and 18-year-old students dem-
onstrated no significant differences. The results suggest that
early adolescence, as well as late adolescence represent periods
that may render students particularly susceptible to developing
Emotionality and Lack of Confidence (e.g., onset of adoles-
cence, higher academic demands, and career decisions).
This study also examined performance variation as a function
of educational level (junior high vs. senior high) on the TAI-G
across student, parent, and teacher samples. Main effects were
only noted within the student samples, with significantly higher
TAI-G Worry scores for junior high students compared to sen-
ior high students. These results suggest that test-related Worry,
compared to the other factors, should be given particular atten-
tion, and that it should likely be attended to from an early age.
Studies do suggest that TA increases slowly in the early school
years, then levels off and eventually decreases in later school
years. Studies vary, however, with regard to exactly when this
occurs. Hembree (1998) suggested that a sharp increase occurs
at grades 3 to 5, stabilizes in secondary school, and decreases in
college. The data in the current study suggests that junior high
students experience failure focused thoughts (i.e., Worry) to a
greater degree than high school students when it comes to test-
ing. This finding appears to corroborate a study by Manly and
Rosemire (1972), which suggested that TA prevalence is high-
est at the junior high level compared to senior high.
TAI-G factor scores also varied as a function of Informant.
With Emotionality, Lack of Confidence, and Interference, stu-
dent and parent ratings were not significantly different from
one another, however, the student and parent ratings were sig-
nificantly higher than the teacher ratings. Since parents and
students demonstrated more concordance across TA factors
compared to teacher reports, it appears likely that students and
parents are better reporters of TA symptomatology in three of
four factor categories. However, teachers, students, and parents
demonstrated concordance with regard to reporting student
Worry. That Worry is considered the most robust of the four
factors, it is clinically significant that all informants gauged this
factor concordantly. Knowing that all informants, on average,
recognize and endorse Worry in a consistent manner can en-
hance clinical judgment relative to discordant reports.
This study contributes to the theory, extant empirical litera-
ture, and practices related to TA. From a theoretical perspective,
a valuable contribution is extended toward the substantiation of
the four-factor model within a multi-informant framework of
TA assessment. Empirically, this study substantiates and ex-
tends claims made with regard to TA ratings as a function of
demographic variables of gender, age, and grade level. Ulti-
mately, this study supports further investigations and use of a
multi-informant assessment system of TA.
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