Role of self-control strength in the relation between anxiety and cognitive performance

Bertrams, Alex; Englert, Christoph; Dickhäuser, Oliver; Baumeister, Roy F. (2013). Role of self-control strength in the relation between anxiety and cognitive performance. Emotion, 13(4), pp. 668-680. American Psychological Association 10.1037/a0031921

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In the present work, we examine the role of self-control resources within the relationship between anxiety and cognitive test performance. We argue that self-control is required for keeping attention away from anxiety-related worries, which would otherwise distract a person from performing on the test. In Study 1 (N = 67) and Study 2 (N = 96), we found that state anxiety was negatively related to performance of verbal learning and mental arithmetic if participants' self-control resources were depleted, but it was unrelated if participants' self-control was intact. In Study 3 (N = 99), the worry component of trait test anxiety was more strongly related to perceived distraction by worries while performing an arithmetic task for participants with depleted self-control resources than for nondepleted participants. Furthermore, distraction by worries showed to be responsible for suboptimal performance. The findings may help to clarify the anxiety-performance relationship and offer a novel approach for counteracting performance decrements associated with test anxiety.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education > Educational Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education

UniBE Contributor:

Bertrams, Alexander Gregor and Englert, Christoph

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

1528-3542

Publisher:

American Psychological Association

Language:

English

Submitter:

Noemi Martina Casola

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2015 17:14

Last Modified:

31 Jul 2017 15:58

Publisher DOI:

10.1037/a0031921

PubMed ID:

23527509

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/64331

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