Stress and Anxiety

When stressed, people usually feel anxious. Spielberger (1972) developed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) which distinguishes between state and trait anxieties.

State anxiety is one’s situational response to external threats.

The S-Anxiety scale consists of twenty statements that evaluate how respondents feel “right now, at this moment.”

Example of the questions :

1 2 3 4
Not At All Somewhat Moderately So Very Much So

A. I feel at ease 1 2 3 4
B. I feel upset 1 2 3 4

Trait anxiety is one’s tendency to panic in expectation of threats.

The T-Anxiety scale consists of twenty statements that assess how respondents feel “generally.”

Example of the questions :

1 2 3 4
Not At All Somewhat Moderately So Very Much So

A. I am a steady person 1 2 3 4
B. I lack self-confidence 1 2 3 4

Studies have concurred on this distinction and found that state and trait anxieties are correlated. (Bedell & Roitzsch, 1976; Laroque & Obrzut, 2006; Millimet & Gardner, 1972).

This means that people who are easily anxious when faced with a stressful situation are actually generally on a higher level of anxiety. Perhpas this is also related to the personality of neuroticism.

Hence, being uptight or anxious easily may perhaps be in one’s blood after all.

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