Test Anxiety: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Child Study Center, Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 4.75). 04/2005; 8(1):65-88. DOI: 10.1007/s10567-005-2342-x
Source: PubMed


The present paper examines test anxiety from a cross-cultural perspective with specific reference to the Indian and American cultures. The construct of test anxiety has been examined in many cultures all over the world. In this review, the importance of understanding and incorporating contextual factors in cross-cultural research is emphasized. Moreover, some of the methodological issues related to investigating culture-behavior relationship are discussed. Specifically, the derived-etic approach for conducting cross-cultural research is espoused. Then, research findings from western, cross-cultural, and Indian studies on test anxiety are reviewed. Consistent with the individualistic orientation of the western society, much of the research in the western world has adopted a de-contextualized approach. Inasmuch as many of the cross-cultural and Indian studies on test anxiety have their roots in western research, they have ignored the cultural context as well. To address this void, contextual variables relevant to test anxiety in the Indian setting are examined and hypotheses regarding the nature of test anxiety in Indian children are proposed. Finally, a research agenda is presented to examine these hypotheses using a derived-etic approach.

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    • "test anxiety may experience future challenges impacting their academic performance (Beidel & Turner, 1988; Bodas & Ollendick, 2005; McDonald, 2001; Wren & Benson, 2004). Yet, despite the high prevalence of test anxiety in elementary school students (Lowe & Lee, 2008) and the serious implications of the condition, research on effective test anxiety interventions at the elementary school level is largely lacking. "
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    • "Research has shown that even short-term negative emotions, for example, the fear that arises in response to teachers' intimidating behavior as a motivation strategy, have detrimental effects on students' test anxiety and, consequently, on their test scores (Putwain & Best, 2011). In fact, test anxiety is a widespread phenomenon in educational contexts (Bodas & Ollendick, 2005; Bradley et al., 2007; Deb, Chatterjee, & Walsh, 2010), which not only compromises students' academic abilities, but also negatively influences their socio-emotional and behavioral development, as well as their self-worth and their concept of school (Salend, 2012; Schwarzer , 2000; Zeidner, 1998). Test anxiety is understood as a specific type of anxiety that occurs in evaluation situations (Friedman & Bedas-Jacob, 1997), and is considered to be a self-inflicted emotional response to negative achievement (Weiner, 2007). "
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    • "Mathematics anxiety is one of the factors that affect individual's performance. The relationship between anxiety and performance is analyzed in different titles, such as test anxiety (Bodas and Ollendick, 2005) or mathematics anxiety (Engelhard, 2001). Mathematics anxiety can be defined as a fear that has a negative relationship with performance (Whyte, 2009). "
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