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Why do some people work best under pressure? In two studies, we examined whether and how people use anxiety to motivate themselves. As predicted, clarity of feelings moderated the relationship between trait anxiety and the tendency to use this emotion as a source of motivation (i.e., anxiety motivation). Furthermore, anxiety motivation mediated the relationship between trait anxiety and outcomes - including academic achievement (Study 1) as well as persistence and job satisfaction (Study 2). These findings suggest that individuals who are clear about their feelings are more likely to thrive on anxiety and eustress and possibly use these to achieve their goals and find satisfaction at work.
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Original Article
Must We Suffer to Succeed?
When Anxiety Boosts Motivation and Performance
Juliane Strack,
Paulo Lopes,
Francisco Esteves,
and Pablo Fernandez-Berrocal
Strandklinik St. Peter-Ording, Department for Psychosomatic Medicine, St. Peter-Ording, Germany
Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Lisbon, Portugal
Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal
Department of Psychology, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
Department Basic Psychology, University of Malaga, Spain
Abstract: Why do some people work best under pressure? In two studies, we examined whether and how people use anxiety to motivate
themselves. As predicted, clarity of feelings moderated the relationship between trait anxiety and the tendency to use this emotion as a source
of motivation (i.e., anxiety motivation). Furthermore, anxiety motivation mediated the relationship between trait anxiety and outcomes
including academic achievement (Study 1) as well as persistence and job satisfaction (Study 2). These findings suggest that individuals who
are clear about their feelings are more likely to thrive on anxiety and eustress and possibly use these to achieve their goals and find
satisfaction at work.
Keywords: anxiety, motivation, emotion regulation, emotional clarity, emotional intelligence
Many people claim that they work best under pressure or
under stress, which suggests that they thrive in circum-
stances that tend to elicit anxiety or other emotions
usually appraised as negative or unpleasant. Although
these emotions tend to be subjectively experienced as
unpleasant, they can also provide energy, focus, and deter-
mination, helping an individual to work hard toward a
future goal. Anxiety, in particular, may have evolved as
a mechanism that helps human beings to anticipate dan-
gers ahead and work to avoid these, planning for the
future (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993). Therefore, and in line
with the framework of instrumental emotion regulation
(Parrott, 1993; Tamir, Mitchell, & Gross, 2008), we inves-
tigated peoples perceived tendency to use anxiety to
motivate themselves.
There has been increasing interest in the upside of stress
and negative emotions in recent years (e.g., McGonigal,
2015). Recent studies have found that negative emotions
such as anxiety can be beneficial for performance, but only
if anxiety is interpreted as facilitative (Strack & Esteves,
2015). Interpreting anxiety as facilitative was linked with
appraising upcoming stressors as a challenge rather than a
threat, and was found to help prevent emotional
exhaustion in stressful times (Strack & Esteves, 2015).
Another study examined two ways of using anxiety for self-
motivation (i.e., anxiety motivation): drawing on the infor-
mation or the energy that anxiety provides (Strack, Lopes,
& Esteves, 2015). Both forms of anxiety motivation were
found to protect against emotional exhaustion, in a one-year
longitudinal study and in an experimental setting.
The present studies aim to extend these prior findings in
two ways. First, we examine the moderating role of clarity
of feelings as an important individual difference character-
istic that may help people to use anxiety as a source of
motivation. Second, we investigate the mediating role of
anxiety motivation in the process through which anxiety
may contribute to beneficial outcomes.
Functions and Utility of Negative
Appraisal theories of emotion (e.g., Frijda, 2007)suggest
that the appraisal of a situation leads to action readiness,
physiological arousal and affect, and these responses
motivate behavior. In performance contexts, negative
emotions such as anxiety can have both debilitative and
facilitative properties. Debilitative properties include nega-
tive self-evaluations and negative expectations (Martens,
Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990). Facilitative proper-
ties include working with enhanced effort and persistence
(Parrott, 2002). Anxiety or fear can focus attention on
perceived risks, trigger effort to avoid undesired outcomes,
and thereby contribute to goal achievement.
According to the mood-as-input model (Clore, Schwarz,
&Conway,1994), negative affect may signal that there
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DOI: 10.1027/1614-0001/a000228 - Juliane Strack <> - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:21:20 AM - IP Address:
are problems or issues requiring attention or improvement.
This can stimulate increased effort and persistence (Martin
&Stoner,1996) or induce higher standards of performance
(Cervone, Kopp, Schaumann, & Scott, 1994). For example,
Martin, Ward, Achee, and Wyer (1993) found that partici-
pants in a negative mood ceased working on a task sooner
if told to stop when they were no longer enjoying it, but
worked longer on it if told to stop when they were satisfied
with their performance. Participants in a positive mood
showed the opposite pattern. Similarly, in a situation requir-
ing creativity, De Dreu, Baas, and Nijstad (2008)foundthat
negatively-valenced activating moods such as anger and
fear led to greater perseverance than positively-valenced
deactivating moods such as happiness or sadness.
Thus, negative emotions have important motivational
properties. Positive emotions on the other hand, indicate
that everything is going well (Fredrickson, 1998). They sig-
nal that ones goals are not threatened and that one may
expect positive outcomes. Therefore, individuals experienc-
ing positive affect may think that intense effort is unneces-
especially if they think that the task is not intrinsically moti-
vating and that such effort or hard work would undermine
their good mood (Hirt, McDonald, & Melton, 1996; Parrott,
1993). Bi-dimensional theories of emotion, such as the
circumplex model of affect (Russell, 1980), propose that
emotional experience can be understood in terms of
valence and arousal dimensions. According to this frame-
work, anxiety is a negatively-valenced activating emotion
because it is subjectively perceived as unpleasant and
arousing. Whereas positive emotions are thought to trigger
approach motivation, negative emotions such as fear or
anxiety are often thought to trigger a motivation to avoid
a feared object or a tendency to escape a dangerous
situation (Izard & Ackerman, 2000). However, the link
between negative emotions and avoidance motivation is
less clear-cut than was previously thought. For example,
anger has been associated with approach motivation,
prompting people to assert their worth and confront an
offender, instead of running away (Harmon-Jones & Allen,
1998). Similarly, the anxiety triggered by the realization that
they are unprepared can prompt students to work hard for
an exam.
Indeed, attentional control theory suggests that anxiety is
associated with directing more effort at the task (Calvo &
Eysenck, 1996; Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo,
2007). According to this theory, anxiety tends to undermine
efficiency in the use of processing resources more than
actual performance, engendering greater effort by increas-
ing attention to threat-related stimuli (Eysenck et al., 2007).
All this suggests that, in some circumstances at least,
negative emotions may induce effort and persistence,
which Parrott (2002) described as the functional utility
of negative emotions. Building upon our previous work
(Strack et al., 2015), we propose that there are individual
differences in the tendency to use anxiety as a source of
motivation, henceforth designated anxiety motivation.
We posit that some people capitalize on the heightened
vigilance, attentional focus, information, and energy that
anxiety can provide, in order to achieve their goals (Clore
et al., 1994; Eysenck & Calvo, 1992; Harmon-Jones & Allen,
1998; Perkins & Corr, 2005). Because anxiety can enhance
attention to goals, persistence, and performance expecta-
tions (e.g., Cervone et al., 1994; Martin & Stoner, 1996),
we expect the ability to use anxiety as a source of
motivation to contribute to persistence in goal striving,
performance, and satisfaction at work.
Here, we view anxiety as a form of low-intensity fear that
may be attributed to a specific threat or to more diffuse or
pervasive concerns. Research suggests that trait anxiety
includes cognitive and affective components (e.g., Morris,
Davis, & Hutchings, 1981). Here, we are interested in the
general and chronic experience of anxiety, including both
cognitive and affective components, because we expect
both dimensions to contribute to anxiety motivation.
For example, both cognitive and affective components
can alert people to potential threats and to the need to work
harder. However, research also suggests that these two
components are strongly related, indicating that anxiety
can be treated as a unidimensional trait (Vagg, Spielberger,
&OHearn, 1980). Thus, we investigated the general
experience of trait anxiety as measured by a widely-used
questionnaire such as the trait scale of the State-Trait
Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983)and the general
tendency to use anxiety to motivate oneself.
Instrumental Emotional Regulation
and Clarity of Feelings
Research inspired by functional accounts of emotion, as
well as the more recently proposed framework of instru-
mental emotion regulation, has led us to reconsider the role
of trait anxiety in human achievement. Several studies
support the idea that negative activating emotions can sig-
nal a need to exert greater effort and energize people to
work harder on the task at hand (e.g., Cervone et al.,
1994;Martinetal.,1993). Because negative emotions can
be motivating and enhance performance, some people
prefer to experience these emotions to complete particular
tasks (Tamir & Ford, 2009).
Instrumental emotion regulation is said to occur when
individuals choose to experience emotions that may be
unpleasant but offer instrumental benefits (Tamir et al.,
2008). In other words, when people have an instrumental
goal (such as performing well on a task), they may sustain
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emotions that will help them achieve that goal, even if these
emotions entail short-term hedonic costs (Tamir, Chiu, &
Gross, 2007). Erber, Erber, and Poe (2004)showedthat,
in anticipation of an important task, participants preferred
to experience negative affect because too positive a mood
might undermine their performance. Similarly, Tamir
(2005) found that individuals high in neuroticism preferred
to increase their level of worry when they expected to
perform cognitively demanding tasks, and such choices
improved their actual performance. There is further
evidence that people prefer trait-consistent affective
experiences and may perform better in such affective states
(Coté & Moskowitz, 1998).
This suggests that individuals who are dispositionally
anxious may work better when they feel anxious. Yet, other
research suggests that, for people with high levels of trait
anxiety, situations that increase anxiety tend to be
perceived as threats and to undermine performance (e.g.,
Byron, Khazaridu, & Nazarian, 2010; Pearson & Thackray,
1970). How can we make sense of these apparently contra-
dictory findings? We reasoned that mixed findings may
reflect moderating effects. In particular, we propose that
the capacity to use anxiety as a source of motivation is
potentiated by clarity of feelings.
Clarity of feelings, an important aspect of the meta-mood
experience, involves identifying and understanding ones
emotions clearly (Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, &
Palfai, 1995). According to the mood-as-input model,
people need to identify and understand their emotions
clearly in order to interpret negative emotions as beneficial
for goal pursuit. The ability to perceive ones own feelings
clearly and to understand how one feels may enable
individuals to appreciate the motivational benefits of
negative emotions and to manage these effectively to attain
their goals (Izard et al., 2011). Conversely, being unaware of
or confused about their feelings may prevent people from
using emotions effectively (Gohm, Corser, & Dalsky, 2005).
According to the theory of emotional intelligence (Mayer
& Salovey, 1997), the ability to perceive and understand
emotions provides crucial information for managing
emotions intelligently. Clarity of feelings yields information
(e.g., regarding why the stimulus is relevant to ones
concerns) that facilitates the selection and implementation
of effective emotion regulation strategies and adaptive
responses (Barrett & Gross, 2001; Gross & Jazaieri, 2014;
see also the discussion by Boden & Thompson, 2017).
For example, recognizing that we are feeling anxious and
understanding that the anxiety is due to an upcoming exam
can help us decide to work harder and prepare for this chal-
lenge proactively. Building upon this theory and research,
we propose that the ability to identify and understand their
feelings clearly helps people to manage anxiety so as to
enhance self-motivation. Specifically, we hypothesize that
clarity of feelings moderates (enhances) the relationship
between trait anxiety and anxiety motivation.
Overview and Summary of Hypotheses
Previous work on anxiety motivation examined specific
aspects of this construct, discriminating the use of anxiety
as a source of information and energy (e.g., Strack et al.,
2015). Here, we examined whether general anxiety
motivation (i.e., the general tendency to use anxiety for
self-motivation, encompassing the use of anxiety as a source
of both information and energy) can be explained by the
interactive effect of trait anxiety (i.e., the general and
chronic tendency to experience anxiety) and clarity of feel-
ings. For this purpose, we developed a measure of general
anxiety motivation and undertook its preliminary validation
in a pilot study using a heterogeneous German sample.
Then we investigated anxiety motivation in two other
studies, including both academic and workplace contexts:
university students majoring in journalism in Poland (Study
1) and working journalists at a leading daily newspaper in
Germany (Study 2). Both groups face stressors on a regular
basis and thus experience some level of stress and anxiety in
a performance setting. University students have to meet
coursework deadlines and take exams. Journalists at a daily
newspaper work under tight deadlines, on assignments that
are subject to change every day.
Based on the theory and research outlined before, we
tested the following hypotheses, using the integrated
mediated-moderation model depicted in Figure 1:
1. The relationship between trait anxiety and anxiety
motivation is moderated by clarity of feelings, such
that this relationship is more positive for individuals
who are clear about their feelings (Studies 1and 2).
2. Anxiety motivation mediates the relationship between
trait anxiety and beneficial outcomes (academic
achievement in Study 1, and persistence in goal striv-
ing and job satisfaction in Study 2), for individuals
who are clear about their feelings.
Pilot Study
In a preliminary study, we examined the dimensional
structure as well as the convergent and discriminant
validity of a 4-item anxiety motivation scale developed
for the present research. In particular, we examined its
relationship with relevant constructs such as trait anxiety,
emotion regulation, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, as
well as socially desirable responding. In keeping with
common practice, we undertook an exploratory factor
analysis first, before running a confirmatory factor analysis
in the next study.
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Participants and Procedure
One hundred ninety-four participants were recruited
through opportunity sampling at a large German university
via email (27% university students, 70%workersfrom
various professions, 3%other;51% male, 49% female;
mean age 33,SD =11). Data were collected through both
online and paper-based surveys. Questionnaires were
administered in German.
Anxiety motivation was measured using a 4-item, one-
dimensional exploratory scale of peoples self-perceived
tendency to use anxiety to motivate themselves. Although
previous research suggests that people can draw on both
the information and energy that anxiety provides (Strack
et al., 2015), in the present studies we sought to measure
individual differences in the general tendency to use
anxiety as a source of self-motivation, rather than specific
ways of doing so. Twelve items were generated by the
authors, of which four were selected in collaboration with
other researchers, according to the following criteria: items
should (a) sample the general tendency to use anxiety as a
source of motivation broadly; (b) use simple wording; and
(c) have good face validity. The final selection included:
feeling anxious about a deadline helps me to get the work
done on time; feeling anxious helps me focus on what I
need to improve upon; feeling anxious about my goals
keeps me focused on them; feeling anxious in the past
has motivated me to achieve some important goals in my
life. Items that were dropped included: when I fear failure
I work harder(retained items focused on feeling anxious
in general, rather than fearing failure, which some people
may experience only infrequently or not at all); and worry-
ing about something prevents me from being lazy(worry-
ing might imply only the cognitive component of anxiety).
A5-point response scale was used (1=disagree,5=agree).
Trait anxiety, the propensity to experience anxiety and
worry, was measured using the 20-item trait subscale of
the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983), with
a4-point response scale (1=almost never,4=almost
Self-perceived emotion regulation ability was measured
with the emotion regulation subscale of the Wong and
Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEIS; Wong & Law,
2002), using a 5-point response format (1=disagree,
Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation were measured with the
corresponding subscales of the Motivation at Work Scale
(Gagné et al., 2010).
Social Desirability was measured with the Marlowe
Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Reynolds, 1982)to
evaluate to what extent self-ratings of anxiety motivation
reflect socially desirable responding.
Demographics. We also collected data on age, gender, and
Results and Discussion
The anxiety motivation scale revealed high internal
consistency (Cronbachsα=.83). An exploratory factor
analysis of the four items (using principal axis factoring
and considering eigenvalues, scree plot, and interpretabil-
ity) yielded a single factor explaining 67% of the variance,
with all items loading above .68. This suggests that the
general tendency to use anxiety as a source of motivation
can be adequately represented as a single dimension.
Next we examined whether anxiety motivation could be
clearly distinguished from related constructs. For this
purpose, we undertook a separate, exploratory factor
analysis including anxiety motivation, trait anxiety, emotion
regulation, extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation
items. Because the trait anxiety scale was much longer than
all other measures, items from this scale were combined
Trait Anxiety Anxiety Motivation
Clarity of Feelings
Academic Per formance
(Study 1)
Persistence and Job Satisfaction
(Study 2)
Figure 1. The mediated moderation
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into four parcels. We used principal axis factoring and
promax rotation, and retained five factors. The results
(reported in Table 1) show that the four anxiety motivation
items loaded above .69 on a single factor, separate from the
other constructs.
Table 2reports descriptive statistics and correlations for
the measures included. Anxiety motivation correlated
positively but not excessively with self-perceived emotion
regulation ability and intrinsic motivation, as expected.
Anxiety motivation was only weakly (and negatively)
related to social desirability, attenuating concerns that the
effects observed in subsequent studies might be inflated
by socially desirable responding, a frequent source of
common method bias. Considered together, these findings
provide preliminary evidence of convergent and discrimi-
nant validity.
Study 1
In Study 1, we tested our hypotheses in a sample of students
at a university in Poland. In school settings, students expe-
rience a variety of emotions related to their academic moti-
vation and achievement (Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry,
2002). Anxiety is the emotion most frequently reported
by students when they are asked about their emotional
experience in school (Pekrun et al., 2002;Stöber,2004).
It may be triggered by the pressure to achieve and the
anticipation of poor performance, among other factors.
Many students experience anxiety not only when they are
taking exams but also when they are studying, completing
course assignments, or in class (Pekrun et al., 2002).
Participants and Procedure
Atotalof159 undergraduate students majoring in Journal-
ism, in Poland, took part in this study. Age ranged from
17 to 38 (M=23,SD =2.69)and61% were female. Students
completed questionnaires anonymously online, in English.
They were invited to participate only if they had good
knowledge of English. Participants who reported insuffi-
cient knowledge of English or who did not follow instruc-
tions correctly (e.g., those who failed a couple of trap
questions included in the questionnaire to detect random
or careless responding) were screened out automatically.
Note that descriptive statistics and reliabilities for all scales
arereportedinTable3. All measures except for Trait
Anxiety used a 5-point response scale ranging from
1(= disagree)to5(= agree).
Anxiety motivation was measured using the 4-item scale
developed in the pilot study.
Trait anxiety was measured with the 20-item trait
subscale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger,
1983), as in the pilot study.
Clarity of feelings wasmeasuredwithanabridged9-item
version of the Clarity subscale of the Trait Meta-Mood
Table 1.Five-factor exploratory factor analysis (principal axis factoring and promax rotation)
Items Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 Factor 5
Anxiety motivation item 1 .41 .13 .69 .22 .33
Anxiety motivation item 2 .04 .08 .77 .25 .13
Anxiety motivation item 3 .12 .00 .86 .50 .35
Anxiety motivation item 4 .19 .10 .75 .33 .17
Extrinsic motivation item 1 .07 .18 .16 .20 .74
Extrinsic motivation item 2 .08 .23 .16 .20 .75
Extrinsic motivation item 3 .65 .24 .13 .03 .32
Intrinsic motivation item 1 .87 .32 .26 .23 .21
Intrinsic motivation item 2 .85 .20 .07 .00 .06
Intrinsic motivation item 3 .95 .14 .28 .09 .15
STAI Parcel 1 (items 15) .03 .61 .32 .12 .12
STAI Parcel 2 (items 610) .14 .88 .02 .33 .32
STAI Parcel 3 (items 1115) .41 .88 .06 .26 .28
STAI Parcel 4 (items 1620) .38 .93 .09 .33 .32
Emotion regulation item 1 .04 .09 .60 .69 .51
Emotion regulation item 2 .01 .12 .36 .87 .07
Emotion regulation item 3 .07 .22 .25 .66 .42
Emotion regulation item 4 .19 .24 .36 .89 .27
Note. N = 194.
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Scale (Salovey et al., 1995), assessing the perceived ability
to clearly identify and understand emotions. Items with
relatively high loadings were selected for this abridged
Academic achievement was measured using studentsself-
reports of the overall grade they obtained in the previous
semester. Grades in Poland range from 1to 6,1being the
worst and 6being the best (the pass grade is 2).
Demographics. We also collected data on age, gender, and
Results and Discussion
Descriptive statistics and zero-order correlations are
reportedinTable3. Confirmatory Factor Analysis
supported the unidimensional structure of the anxiety
motivation scale: X
TLI = 1.00;RMSEA=0.00. As expected, anxiety motiva-
tion correlated positively with academic achievement and
clarity of feelings.
To test our hypotheses, we examined an integrated
moderated-mediation/mediated-moderation model using
the Process macro for SPSS developed by Hayes (2012).
The independent variable was trait anxiety and the depen-
dent variable academic grade (see Figure 1). In support of
our first hypothesis, clarity of feelings significantly moder-
ated the relationship between trait anxiety and anxiety
motivation: this relationship was more positive for individ-
In line with Hypothesis 2, anxiety motivation mediated
the relationship between trait anxiety and academic
achievement for individuals who scored high on clarity of
feelings (see Table 4A). Bootstrapping estimates of indirect
effects showed that trait anxiety was positively associated
with grade when clarity of feelings was high (.05), but not
when it was low (.05;seeTable4B). Thus, our hypotheses
were fully supported. The direct effect of trait anxiety on
academic achievement did not reach statistical significance
but was relatively strong, suggesting anxiety motivation
may only partially mediate this relationship.
Although we cannot infer causality, these results indicate
that people who use anxiety to motivate themselves do
better in college. Furthermore, they suggest that clarity of
feelings helps people to use anxiety so as to enhance
motivation and achievement. The limitations of this study
and the next, including reliance on self-report measures
and concerns regarding common method variance, will be
discussed in the General Discussion section.
Study 2
It is important to find out whether beneficial outcomes of
anxiety motivation can be observed not only in an academic
setting but also in the workplace, in contexts where people
are frequently exposed to stressors. Study 2involved
journalists working for a leading daily newspaper in
entails dealing with stressors at work every day. They have
to cope with hectic time schedules and tight deadlines.
Table 2.Pilot study: Descriptive statistics, reliabilities, and correlations
MSD 12345
1. Anxiety motivation 3.05 0.87 (.83)
2. Trait anxiety 2.12 0.50 .04 (.91)
3. Emotion regulation 3.10 0.85 .38** .23** (.84)
4. Extrinsic motivation 3.44 1.06 .13 .09 .23** (.62)
5. Intrinsic motivation 4.64 1.34 .23** .28** .09 .30** (.91)
6. Social desirability 3.19 0.87 .15* .42** .08 .10 .43** (.83)
Notes. Internal consistency (Cronbachs alpha) is reported in parentheses along the diagonal. N= 194. *p< .05; **p< .01 (two-tailed).
Table 3.Study 1 (students): Descriptive statistics, reliabilities, and correlations
MSD 1234
1. Trait anxiety 2.37 0.65 (.94)
2. Anxiety motivation 3.40 0.98 .10 (.83)
3. Clarity of feelings 3.40 0.88 .26** .56** (.66)
4. Academic achievement 4.24 0.74 .19** .39** .50**
Notes. Internal consistency (Cronbachs alpha) is reported in parentheses along the diagonal. N= 159. *p< .05; **p< .01 (two-tailed).
118 J. Strack et al., Anxiety and Motivation
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Therefore, they need to manage stress and anxiety at work
and may be expected to use anxiety to motivate them-
selves. Here we tested the same hypotheses as in Study 1,
focusing on persistence in goal striving and job satisfaction
as relevant outcomes for this group and as indicators of an
individuals ability to thrive in a highly stressful environ-
ment. It was not possible to measure job performance.
Participants and Procedure
We invited 270 journalists at a daily German newspaper to
take part in the study. Sixty-five were located in the head
office and the others in 28 local offices across the region.
In total, 191 (71%) agreed to participate. All were German
and 36% were female. Age ranged from 27 to 64
(M=45,SD =8.98). Scales for which we found no estab-
lished German version were translated into German by
two individuals, and then backtranslated into English by a
third person to ensure that the translation was accurate
(Brislin, 1970). Data were collected online using self-report
All measures except for Trait Anxiety and Job Satisfaction
used a 5-point response scale ranging from 1(= disagree)
to 5(= agree). Anxiety Motivation and Clarity of Feelings
were measured using the same scales as in Study 1.
Trait Anxiety was again assessed with the correspond-
ing subscale from the State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory
(Spielberger, 1983). Due to practical constraints, we used
an abridged, 10-item version of the established German
adaptation by Laux, Glanzmann, Schaffner, and Spielberger
(1981). This abridged scale included high-loading items
selected to (a) tap into both emotional and cognitive aspects
of anxiety, and (b) indicate both the presence and absence
of anxiety (Spielberger, 1983).
Job Satisfaction was measured using the 8-item Abridged
Job in General Scale (Russell et al., 2004). Response
options are Yes (coded as 3)/No (coded as 0)/Cannot decide
(coded as 1). The instructions state: Think of your job in
general. How well does each of the following words or
phrases describe your job?Example responses are enjoy-
ableand poor.
Persistence in Goal Striving, reflecting the extent to which
people persist in striving toward goals, particularly in
challenging circumstances, was measured using the corre-
sponding 5-item subscale of the Measurement Instrument
for Primary and Secondary Control Strategies (Wrosch,
Heckhausen, & Lachman, 2000).
Demographics. We also measured age, gender, and
Results and Discussion
Preliminary Analyses
As can be seen in Table 5, which reports descriptive
statistics and internal consistencies for all measures
included, anxiety motivation correlated significantly and
positively with job satisfaction and clarity of feelings.
Table 4.Study 1 (Students): (A) Moderated-mediation model explaining Academic Achievement. (B) Conditional indirect effects of trait anxiety on
Academic Achievement at different values of clarity of feelings
Coefficient SE t
Predicting anxiety motivation (mediator)
Trait anxiety .00 .08 0.04
Clarity of feelings .51** .08 6.27
Trait Anxiety Clarity of feelings .14* .06 2.34
Predicting academic achievement (DV)
Trait anxiety .14 .08 1.69
Anxiety motivation .38** .08 4.52
Confidence interval
Values of moderator (clarity of feelings) Effect SE Lower limit Upper limit
1SD .05 .06 .21 .03
Mean .00 .03 .07 .05
+1 SD .05 .03 .01 .12
Notes. N = 124 (due to missing data). (.95 confidence interval). For the model predicting Anxiety Motivation (the mediator), F(3, 120) = 21.86, p< .01, R
= .35.
For the model predicting Academic Achievement (DV), F(2, 121) = 12.76, p< .01, R
= .17. *p< .05; **p< .01 (two-tailed).
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Moderated Mediation
We tested our hypotheses using the Process macro from
Hayes (2012), as in Study 1(see Figure 1). In support of
our hypotheses, clarity of feelings significantly moderated
the relationship between trait anxiety and anxiety motiva-
tion (Table 6A). Anxiety motivation partially mediated the
relationship between trait anxiety and job satisfaction.
Furthermore, bootstrapping indices showed that when
clarity of feelings was high, trait anxiety was positively
associated with job satisfaction (through anxiety motiva-
tion, Table 6B). We found similar results for the model
examining persistence in goal striving as the dependent
variable (Tables 7Aand7B). The conditional indirect
effects of trait anxiety on both dependent variables were
positive at all values of the moderator, but stronger for
individuals who scored high versus low on clarity of
The fact that the direct effects of trait anxiety on both
outcomes were negative, whereas the indirect effects via
anxiety motivation were positive, highlights the importance
of our mediation analysis. This finding suggests that trait
anxiety tends to undermine persistence in goal striving
and job satisfaction, but these negative direct effects are
partially offset by the fact that anxiety can also be used
as a source of motivation (the positive indirect effect via
anxiety motivation, whose strength depends on clarity of
The results of this study extend those of Study 1to a
professional context, examining additional outcomes.
In particular, they suggest that people who work in a stress-
ful professional environment can use anxiety to motivate
themselves particularly if they are clear about their
feelings and thereby exhibit greater persistence in goal
striving and find satisfaction at work.
General Discussion
The present studies shed light on individual differences in
emotional experience and how people can use anxiety as
a source of motivation, particularly when they understand
Table 6.Study 2 (Journalists): (A) Moderated-mediation model explaining job satisfaction. (B) Conditional indirect effects of trait anxiety on job
satisfaction at different values of clarity of feelings
Coefficient SE t
Predicting anxiety motivation (mediator)
Trait anxiety .44** .06 6.88
Clarity of feelings .32** .06 4.97
Trait Anxiety Clarity of feelings .27** .06 4.37
Predicting job satisfaction (DV)
Trait anxiety .37** .07 5.06
Anxiety motivation .61** .07 8.32
Confidence interval
Values of moderator (clarity of feelings) Effect SE Lower limit Upper limit
1SD .11 .05 .01 .21
Mean .27 .05 .18 .38
+1 SD .44 .07 .32 .58
Notes. N = 191. (.95 confidence interval). For the model predicting Anxiety Motivation (the mediator), F(3, 160) = 33.54, p< .01, R
= .39. For the model
predicting Job Satisfaction (DV), F(2, 161) = 35.87, p< .01, R
= .31. *p< .05; **p< .01 (two-tailed).
Table 5.Study 2 (Journalists): Descriptive statistics, reliabilities, and correlations
MSD 12345
1. Trait anxiety 2.22 0.83 (.95)
2. Anxiety motivation 3.07 1.16 .44** (.87)
3. Clarity of feelings 3.83 0.89 .14 .28** (.94)
4. Job satisfaction 2.17 0.97 .10 .44** .58** (.93)
5. Persistence 3.93 1.03 .10 .39** .39** .71** (.92)
Notes. Internal consistency (Cronbachs alpha) is reported in parentheses along the diagonal. N= 191. *p< .05; **p< .01 (two-tailed).
120 J. Strack et al., Anxiety and Motivation
Journal of Individual Differences (2017), 38(2), 113124 Ó2017 Hogrefe Publishing - Juliane Strack <> - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:21:20 AM - IP Address:
their feelings clearly. The results were consistent across two
different samples and cultures. In an academic context,
anxiety motivation mediated the relationship between trait
anxiety and academic achievement, when individuals
had high levels of emotional clarity. Likewise, in a work
context, among journalists, anxiety motivation partially
mediated the effects of trait anxiety on both goal
persistence and job satisfaction, again moderated by clarity
of feelings. The present studies suggest that it is not only
anxiety per se that ultimately influences performance,
persistence, and satisfaction, but rather the way people
experience, respond to, and feel energized or motivated
by anxiety. Using anxiety as a source of motivation seems
to offset the otherwise detrimental effects of anxiety.
Furthermore, both studies suggest that in order to use
anxiety for self-motivation, it is important to be clear about
ones feelings.
The present findings extend previous work in this area
(Strack & Esteves, 2015;Stracketal.,2015) in several ways.
First, we identified a configuration of individual difference
characteristics associated with the use of anxiety for self-
motivation: the frequent experience of anxiety combined
with clarity of feelings. This finding suggests that clarity
of feelings enables people to view and experience anxiety
as facilitating performance, thereby contributing to the
literature on the facilitative effects of anxiety as well.
Second, we revealed the mediating role of anxiety motiva-
tion in the relationship between trait anxiety and positive
outcomes. Additionally, we developed a measure of general
anxiety motivation and tested its effects in two different
contexts and cultures.
Our findings are in line with prior research linking affec-
tive experience and motivation at work (e.g., Carver &
Scheier, 1990; Foo, Uy, & Baron, 2009;Ilies&Judge,
2005; Louro, Pieters, & Zeelenberg, 2007). Although nega-
tive emotions may sometimes harm performance, research
indicates that this effect is moderated by coping strategies
(Brown, Westbrook, & Challagalla, 2005). Similarly, the
present findings suggest that, although chronic (trait) anxi-
ety can undermine performance (trait anxiety correlated
negatively with academic achievement in Study 1), people
can also use anxiety to motivate themselves and achieve
positive outcomes as long as they are clear about their
feelings. This implies that trait anxiety is not necessarily a
handicap. In fact, people predisposed to experience anxiety
may have an advantage in instrumental emotion regulation
if they are able to use anxiety as a source of self-motivation,
and thereby make the most of this disposition.
We found a positive relationship between trait anxiety
and anxiety motivation among journalists in Study 2,but
not among students in Study 1. There may be several
reasons for this, including self-selection and learning
effects. It is possible that individuals who are prone to
anxiety choose stressful jobs only if they can manage their
emotions and use anxiety to motivate themselves. It is also
possible that journalists predisposed to experience anxiety
learn to use anxiety to motivate themselves on the job,
and thereby learn to cope with a stressful environment
(with age, people tend to get better at regulating their
emotions; Lawton, 2001).
Although our results stand in contrast to some previous
findings regarding the potentially demotivating effects of
Table 7.Study 2 (Journalists): (A) Moderated-mediation model explaining persistence. (B) Conditional indirect effects of trait anxiety on
persistence at different values of clarity of feelings
Coefficient SE t
Predicting anxiety motivation (mediator)
Trait anxiety .44** .06 6.91
Clarity of Feelings .32** .06 4.99
Trait Anxiety Clarity of Feelings .27** .06 4.38
Predicting persistence (DV)
Trait anxiety .20* .08 2.35
Anxiety motivation .40** .08 4.82
Confidence interval
Values of moderator (clarity of feelings) Effect SE Lower limit Upper limit
1SD .07 .04 .02 .16
Mean .18 .04 .10 .27
+1 SD .29 .06 .17 .40
Notes. N = 191. For the model predicting Anxiety Motivation (the mediator), F(3, 161) = 34.06, p< .01, R
= .39. For the model predicting Persistence (DV),
F(2, 162) = 11.67, p< .01, R
= .13. *p< .05; **p< .01 (two-tailed).
J. Strack et al., Anxiety and Motivation 121
Ó2017 Hogrefe Publishing Journal of Individual Differences (2017), 38(2), 113124 - Juliane Strack <> - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:21:20 AM - IP Address:
negative emotions (e.g., Aarts, Custers, & Holland, 2007),
these apparently contradictory results can be reconciled if
we consider the role of emotion regulation and different
causal chains. Previous findings pointing to the demotivat-
ing effects of negative emotions suggest that people may
reduce effort if they repeatedly experience negative
emotions and therefore no longer desire to achieve a
particular goal (Aarts et al., 2007). However, if negative
emotions are used as a source of motivation, focus, and
energy to work hard and to achieve onesgoals,they
may have the opposite effect. This idea is consistent with
findings on the facilitative effects of negative emotions.
According to the mood-as-input model (Clore et al.,
1994), negative emotions such as anxiety can stimulate
increased effort, persistence, and higher standards of per-
formance (Cervone et al., 1994;DeDreuetal.,2008;
Martin & Stoner, 1996; Strack & Esteves, 2015). These
emotions signal that there are issues to address, requiring
attention and effort, in order to attain ones goals (in con-
trast to positive emotions, which tend to signal that every-
thing is going well). Therefore, negative emotions can
increase effort and persistence if they are experienced
as a signal to work harder, which requires emotional
One limitation of these studies is that they relied on
cross-sectional, self-report data. In particular, correlations
could be inflated by common method variance. This con-
cern is attenuated by the fact that anxiety motivation was
only weakly (and negatively) related to socially desirable
responding in the pilot study. We relied on self-report mea-
sures because using negative emotions for self-motivation
is an internal process that cannot be observed clearly by
others and therefore cannot be adequately studied using
informant ratings. Despite its flaws, verbal report may be
the best way of assessing the subjective experience of
emotions and related beliefs (Feldman-Barrett, 2006).
Moreover, the results of moderation analyses cannot be
explained by common method variance. Siemsen, Roth,
and Oliveira (2010) showed that common method variance
does not lead to artificial interaction effects. By contrast, it
deflates existing interactions effects, which makes it more
difficult to find a significant interaction when common
method variance exists. Nevertheless, future research
should examine objective indicators of performance and
informant ratings of observable beneficial outcomes.
Further research is also needed to determine to what extent
our findings generalize to different cultures, professions,
and negative emotions (e.g., using anger as a source of
motivation). Finally, it would be interesting to further
examine the dimensional structure and nomological net
of anxiety motivation, as well as to discriminate the cogni-
tive and affective components of trait anxiety in future
research on anxiety motivation.
Conclusion and Practical Implications
Despite these limitations, our results help us understand
how people can use the experience of anxiety to motivate
themselves and why people respond differently to stressors.
Anxiety motivation may contribute to the experience of
eustress (good stress) rather than distress (e.g., Selye,
1956,1987). Examining this link is another promising
avenue for further research, especially considering that
the concept of eustress has received relatively little atten-
tion (Le Fevre, Matheny, & Kolt, 2003). Using anxiety as
a source of motivation can be viewed as a form of emotion
regulation that entails capitalizing on the focus, energy, and
information provided by anxiety, while attenuating the
subjective perception of displeasure typically is associated
with fear or anxiety. This idea highlights the provocative
possibility that managing emotions involves not only
modulating the intensity of emotional experience, but also
altering its perceived valence and thereby influencing the
subjective experience of emotion, shifting onesprofileof
affective experience on the emotion circumplex.
If substantiated by further research, our findings have
implications for training particularly for emotion regula-
tion and stress management interventions, and efforts to
enhance emotional intelligence in the workplace. Training
people to use negative emotions and stress as a source of
motivation may enhance engagement, performance,
adaptation, and well-being in stressful or high-pressure
work environments. The effects of such training may be
enhanced by educating people to identify and understand
their feelings, and to recognize the benefits of negative
emotions, contributing to a more positive emotional and
meta-mood experience.
The first authorsworkonthisprojectwasfundedbya
doctoral fellowship from Portugals Foundation for Science
and Technology (Reference Number: FCT DFRH Bolsa
SFRH/BD/62085/2009). Francisco Esteves is currently
with the Department of Psychology, Mid Sweden
University, Östersund, Sweden.
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Received February 18, 2016
Revision received September 13, 2016
Accepted October 10, 2016
Published online May 24, 2017
Juliane Strack
Strandklinik St. Peter Ording
Psychosomatic Medicine
Fritz-Wischer-Straße 3
25826 St. Peter Ording
124 J. Strack et al., Anxiety and Motivation
Journal of Individual Differences (2017), 38(2), 113124 Ó2017 Hogrefe Publishing - Juliane Strack <> - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:21:20 AM - IP Address:
... [33] shows that people with high trait anxiety tend to work harder. [34] suggested that anxiety could be a source of motivation that can help certain types of people do better in their job, especially when they have a clear understanding of their emotions. However, some research showed that anxiety caused by job insecurity leads to negative reactions such as reduced engagement [35]. ...
... In addition, due to the negative nature of anxiety, personal anxiety is likely to encounter challenges in meeting their work engagement. However, it contradicts several previous studies showing that people with high trait anxiety tend to work harder [34]. ...
... Scholars confirmed that anxiety could keep employees motivated, especially when they clearly understand their emotions lead, them to do better in their job [34]. However, the results of this study showed that there was a negative link between anxiety and work engagement. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been considered a major cause that led to high levels of mental health problems among employees. This study examined mental health which relates to impact of anxiety on employee engagement. Studies on employee engagement in Vietnam are gaining traction, but are primarily conducted by individual companies, which tend to investigate the situational factors. This study contributes to employee engagement theory focusing on work engagement which is considered an individual factor to be as important as the situational factor and investigates the relevance of personal anxiety for work engagement and informal workplace learning.
... Conversely, anxiety can also increase participants' concentration on the task, rapidly enhance participants' attention to the task, and improve their level of motivation. This process strongly correlates with participants' language ability, academic performance, and competence (Strack et al., 2017). Therefore, for participants with better Chinese language ability, the negative effects of task anxiety might be only temporary. ...
... 16 participants in this study showed anxiety at the cognitive level. Anxiety at the cognitive level may result from negative emotions and increase with the difficulty level of the task (Strack et al., 2017). It can be assumed that some participants eventually experienced anxiety since their negative emotions affected their cognitive level. ...
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Introduction Improving task motivation can reduce anxiety and enhance the efficiency of second language (L2) learning. However, previous research has not determined whether the relationship between task motivation and anxiety is unidirectional facilitation or bidirectional interaction. The reasons for these “relationships” and their impact on L2 learning have not been analysed in depth yet. Methods This study investigated the interaction between task motivation and anxiety via qualitative and quantitative research methods with the participation of 229 Vietnamese university students, who were divided into three L2 writing task groups, including the free choice group (FC), the limited choice group (LC), and the no choice group (NC). Results The quantitative results show that the higher individuals’ autonomy levels were, the higher their task motivation levels would be. Besides, the high level of task anxiety reduced task motivation among Vietnamese university students and exited other anxiety factors. The qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with 32 Vietnamese university students showed that a small number of negative factors might trigger low levels of task anxiety. Discussion Nevertheless, the results for participants with different levels of Chinese language proficiency were highly variable. Participants with better cognitive and Chinese language levels regarded task anxiety as an opportunity to practice their Chinese language skills. They were motivated to complete the task, while participants with lower Chinese language levels exhibited low confidence and experienced more challenges when completing the task.
... However, some research emphasised the possibility of a positive correlation between motivation and anxiety. Strack and Esteves (2015); Strack, Lopes, Esteves, and Fernandez-Berrocal (2017) pointed out that although some people feel anxious, they will debilitate but grow under similar adverse circumstances. When they are anxious in the face of difficult challenges, the latter may become harder. ...
... The findings of this study are consistent with other studies that have found a significant negative relationship between anxiety and motivation Abu-Rabia* (2004); Alico (2016); Bećirović (2020); Hashimoto (2002); (Liu, 2015); Luo, Subramaniam, and O'Steen (2020); Noels (2001); Sari (2017); Tercan and Dikilitaş (2015). Some studies highlighted the possibility of a positive association between the two variables that suggested that under pressure, some individuals became more motivated Luo et al. (2020); Strack and Esteves (2015); Strack et al. (2017); Wang et al. (2018). The outcomes of these studies are not consistent with the outcome of current study. ...
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This research aims to investigate how motivation affects English public speaking anxiety using a correlational research design. A total of 242 Jordanian postgraduate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners (PhD students) were selected from four public universities in Malaysia. The study used a non-probability purposive sampling. Data collection was conducted using two questionnaires, including the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) and the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS). A correlational analysis was conducted to test the hypotheses through Smart PLS 3.0. The results supported the proposed conceptual framework, indicating that motivation was significantly related to English public speaking anxiety. More precisely, there was a significant negative correlation between motivation and English public speaking anxiety among Jordanian Ph.D. students.
... Existing research explores the dual impact of the sense of urgency on job performance. Positively, urgency acts as motivational anxiety, pushing individuals to recognize threats and take adaptive measures (Strack et al., 2017). This aligns with idea of Fullan (2010) that constructive pressure, as genuine urgency, catalyzes proactive goal-oriented thinking. ...
Purpose – During crises, notably the recent COVID-19 pandemic, a heightened sense of urgency has manifested as a catalyst for improvement within organizations. The present study aims to explore the influence of a sense of urgency on individual kaizen performance. Additionally, the study delves into the potential moderating roles of organizational culture in this relationship. Design/methodology/approach – Data samples include 481 employees who are working at Japanese manufacturing companies. SPSS software is used for data analysis, comprising measurement test, correlation, and regression analysis. Findings – A sense of urgency was found to predict a higher number of accepted suggestions. Moreover, there is a significant and positive interaction effect of adhocracy culture and a sense of urgency on writing and submitting ideas. Originality/value – As an initial study that empirically tests the relationship between a sense of urgency and individual kaizen performance, this paper contributes to the literature on kaizen, change management, and innovation. It also corroborates previous research on the PersonOrganization (P-O) fit framework.
... Even in educational studies in other domains, anxiety has been empirically proven to strongly influence and correlate with student learning motivation (Al Majali, 2020;Süren & Kandemir, 2020). Interestingly, anxiety can increase motivation (Strack et al., 2017) and decrease it (Camacho et al., 2021). This study will reveal this correlation in the context of learning chemistry. ...
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The role of motivation in chemistry learning has long been explored and has become an exciting research topic worldwide. The aim of this study was to explore whether gender, class and students' anxiety influenced the motivation to learn chemistry among upper-secondary school students in Indonesia. The Chemistry Motivation Questionnaire II and the Chemistry Anxiety Questionnaire were used to examine the influence of multiple predictors through multiple linear regression analysis tests. Participants in this study were 1,211 upper-secondary school students in Indonesia. This study proves that gender has a significant influence on students' motivation to study chemistry, with female students being more motivated to study chemistry than male students. Interesting research results can be seen in the anxiety variable anxiety, specifically in the chemistry learning anxiety aspect, which has a negative correlation with motivation to study chemistry. The regression model of the three factors revealed in this study accounts for 13.8% of the overall proportion of upper-secondary school students' motivation to study chemistry in Indonesia. The results of this study were corroborated using the interview transcript data with 10 students, who extracted several other predictors to influence motivation to study chemistry, including learning experience, learning environment, and digital literacy. Keywords: chemistry learning anxiety, chemistry motivation, Indonesian upper-secondary school students, cross-sectional research
... In other words, the protective or risk variables of SE and PA or NA and DEP may respectively help or hinder these APs in dealing with the distinctive challenges related to their COC, and thereby promote or suppress their resilience. Curiously, the positive association between ISocS 1 and ANX for APs with OTS may have identified the latter variable as a possible motivating factor (Strack et al., 2017) related to their development of social skills and competency as adults, and in turn, their resilience. ...
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The theoretical literature on resilience shows there is no consensus regarding whether resilience is an ability; interactive process involving the individual, group, and community; both ability and process; or favorable outcome. A definitive part of the research on children’s resilience featured the assessment of an indicator of resilience (e.g., health-related quality of life) and involved pediatric patients with prolonged illnesses. The present study examined resilience directly as an ability and process, and related protective or risk variables, with validated instruments among adolescent patients with chronic orthopedic conditions. One-hundred fifteen adolescent patients assented (parents/legally authorized representatives consented), with 73 completing the study questionnaire. Fifteen, 47, and 10 scored low, normal, or high, respectively, on resilience-ability (one with missing data). These three groups differed significantly on the number of years living with family, individual personal skills, self-esteem, negative affect, anxiety, and depression. Resilience-ability positively correlated with number of years living with family, individual personal skills, and self-esteem, but negatively with duration of chronic orthopedic condition, negative affect, anxiety, and depression. Duration of chronic orthopedic condition negatively correlated with individual peer support among those scoring high on resilience-ability. For girls, duration of chronic orthopedic condition negatively correlated with resilience-ability, educational context, and self-esteem, but positively correlated with caregiver physical and psychological caregiving for boys. Findings underscored the consequence of resilience for these adolescent patients, with their chronic orthopedic conditions affecting daily function and life quality. Implementation of best practices to nurture and enhance their health-related resilience will promote a lifetime of well-being.
... However, negative emotions or stress can also have enhancing effects. Strack et al. (2017) demonstrated that anxiety motivation, which means the tendency to use anxiety as a source of motivation, mediated the relationship between trait anxiety and academic achievement: People who were aware of their anxiety could use this to boost their motivation and performance. The anxiety control theory predicts that anxiety is associated with directing more effort to the task (Eysenck et al., 2007). ...
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The coronavirus pandemic has influenced the lives of many people. We analyzed the effects of physical activity and stress on students’ motivation during the pandemic. Participants were 254 university students who reported their academic motivation, physical activity, general stress, the coronavirus pandemic strain, and their coronavirus stress. Women reported higher levels of coronavirus stress, general stress, and motivation. The coronavirus stress was predicted by the strain of the coronavirus pandemic but not by physical activity. General stress and gender predicted mastery goals, and performance goals were predicted by general stress. Physical activity was not related to students’ motivation during the pandemic. Higher levels of general stress were associated with higher academic motivation. Negative emotions like stress could have enhanced students’ motivation during uncertain times of the pandemic. Moreover, a moderate stress level could be favorable for academic dedication and achievement.
This chapter describes the evolution of educational third spaces as authentic learning communities that were intentionally and thoughtfully developed during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Using creative and original approaches for community-building, addressing collective trauma, and promoting student engagement and enjoyment, the authors explore the impact of the pandemic on education and the methods they used to support their students and their own growth as educators—including seeking skills in digital literacy, integrating anti-racist pedagogy, and engaging in reflective practice. The chapter incorporates Oldenburg's description of third places and Bhabha's concept of cultural hybridity in third spaces as a foundation for understanding the development of virtual third spaces in teaching, professional development, and consultation settings. The chapter authors are counselor educators who transformed their in-person classrooms into dynamic virtual third spaces, where the concept of hands-on, experiential learning took on new meanings.
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Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent mood disorders that can lead to impaired quality of life. Current treatment of anxiety disorders has various adverse effects, safety concerns, or restricted efficacy; therefore, novel therapeutic targets need to be studied. Sex steroid hormones (SSHs) play a crucial role in the formation of brain structures, including regions of the limbic system and prefrontal cortex during perinatal development. In the brain, SSHs have activational and organizational effects mediated by either intracellular or transmembrane G-protein coupled receptors. During perinatal developmental periods, the physiological concentrations of SSHs lead to the normal development of the brain; however, the early hormonal dysregulation could result in various anxiety diorders later in life. Sex differences in the prevalence of anxiety disorders suggest that SSHs might be implicated in their development. In this review, we discuss preclinical and clinical studies regarding the role of dysregulated SSHs signaling during early brain development that modifies the risk for anxiety disorders in a sex-specific manner in adulthood. Moreover, our aim is to summarize potential molecular mechanisms by which the SSHs may affect anxiety disorders in preclinical research. Finally, the potential effects of SSHs in the treatment of anxiety disorders are discussed.
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The anterior regions of the left and right cerebral hemispheres have been posited to be specialized for expression and experience of approach and withdrawal processes, respectively. Much of the evidence supporting this hypothesis has been obtained by use of the anterior asymmetry in electroencephalographic alpha activity. In most of this research, however, motivational direction has been confounded with affective valence such that, for instance, approach motivation relates positively with positive affect. In the present research, we tested the hypothesis that dispositional anger, an approach-related motivational tendency with negative valence, would be associated with greater left- than right-anterior activity. Results supported the hypothesis, suggesting that the anterior asymmetry varies as a function of motivational direction rather than affective valence.
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Reviews the literature generated by R. M. Liebert and L. W. Morris's (1967) 2-component conceptualization of anxiety, specifically test anxiety, and other related theoretical and research programs. It is concluded (a) that the inverse relationship between anxiety and various performance variables under appropriate conditions is attributable primarily to the worry–performance relationship, supporting a cognitive–attentional view of performance deficits; (b) that the 2 components are probably aroused and maintained by different aspects of stressful situations; certainly worry may or may not be accompanied by the emotional component; and (c) that efforts to apply the distinction to the development of more effective treatment techniques have been productive. Recent advances in assessment are noted, and a revised worry–emotionality questionnaire is presented, along with the factor-analytic evidence on which it is based. A social learning position is used to provide further theoretical perspective. (2½ p ref)
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Developed, on the basis of responses from 608 undergraduate students to the 33-item Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, three short forms of 11, 12, and 13 items. The psychometric characteristics of these three forms and three other short forms developed by Strahan and Gerbasi (1972) were investigated and comparisons made. Results, in the form of internal consistency reliability, item factor loadings, short form with Marlowe-Crowne total scale correlations, and correlations between Marlowe-Crowne short forms and the Edwards Social Desirability Scale, indicate that psychometrically sound short forms can be constructed. Comparisons made between the short forms examined in this investigation suggest the 13-item form as a viable substitute for the regular 33-item Marlowe-Crowne scale.
As much as we would like to think that our decision, particularly those of some importance, are purely based on rational choice and solely influenced by cold, hard cognition, the truth is that affect and decision-making are inextricably linked in a variety of ways (Schwarz 2000). Most decisions have affective consequences determined by their outcomes. Desired outcomes generally elicit feelings of satisfaction and happiness; undesired outcomes are often accompanied by disappointment and occasionally lead to feelings of regret (e.g. McConnell et al. 2000). Some decision tasks are inherently enjoyable (choosing from the menu of one”s favorite restaurant) whereas others may be accompanied by negative affect such as fear (deciding on an appropriate medical procedure). In many cases, people may anticipate how they will feel about the outcome of a decision and use the corresponding predictions for their choice (e.g. Mellers, Schwartz, and Ritov 1997). And of course, people”s decisions may often be influenced by the transient moods and emotions they experience at the time they make a decision. The extent to which people may be able to divorce their affect from their cognitions when making decisions is the focus of this chapter.