How does cognitive appraisal lead to perceived stress in academic examinations?

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Abstract

Two experiments were carried out to clarify whether the relation between primary appraisal, outcome expectancies and self-efficacy (Experiment 1) or self-confidence (Experiment 2) are interactive or additive when determining perceived stress level. This was tested in two threatening moments of the academic examination stress process: the anticipatory stage, when preparing for it (Experiment 1); and the after-exam stage, when waiting for the grade (Experiment 2). For both studies 29 cards were designed representing different exam scenarios, and perceived stress level was measured for each card. The analysis of variance shows that students combine information about primary appraisal and outcome expectancies additively, and information about outcome expectancies and self-efficacy (Experiment 1) or self-confidence (Experiment 2) interactively. The combination of primary appraisal and self-efficacy (Experiment 1) is interactive, and that of primary appraisal and self-confidence (Experiment 2) is additive. The findings suggest that distinguishing outcome expectancies from self-efficacy or self-confidence is necessary to understand the appraisal process underlying examination stress judgments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-192
JournalStudia Psychologica
Volume52
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2010

Keywords

  • Academic examinations
  • Cognitive appraisal
  • Perceived stress
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-efficacy

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