Employing a repeated measures, within subject’s design, an opportunity sample of one-hundred and seventy-four undergraduate psychology students completed the state anxiety survey or more often referred to as state trait anxiety inventory(STAI) (Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970) survey that measured their level of anxiety through a Likert scale, and then one week later completed The Big five personality Quiz (Eysenck, 1992), after incomplete results were excluded through SPSS, one hundred and twenty of the results were examined. The hypothesis that stated, “There will be a relationship between the levels of personality traits extroversion and emotional stability, measured through the big 5 personality factor, and levels of state anxiety in an individual, measured through the state anxiety survey” was supported as the results were significant, therefore individual’s personality traits, (extroversion and emotional stability had an effect on their levels of anxiety.
State anxiety can be defined as a feeling of fear or concern about the consequence of a threatening event (Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970).When an individual faces anxiety, they are accompanied by multiple physiological symptoms such as muscle tension, perspiring, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and trembling (Albery, et al., 2014). The state trait anxiety inventory measures the level of state anxiety in an individual (Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970), it is an inventory centred on a 4-point Likert scale that is consisting of forty self-report based questions. The State trait anxiety inventory assesses two types of anxiety; state-anxiety, which describes feelings of worry and fear about a certain event, and trait anxiety, which describes anxiety to equal as a particular feature (Tilton, 2008).this assignment will be focusing on state anxiety. Feelings of Anxiety can be triggered due to multiple factors; however, the individual personality can play a huge part in triggering someone’s anxiety (Bienvenu & Stein, 2006)
Personality is described as to be a unique grouping of psychological and behavioural features by which each individual can fit into and can be used to differ from one another (Mischel & Shoda, 1986). To describe an individual’s personality, people tend to use the trait approach, as the majority of individuals define others by depicting the type of people they see them as (Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, & Roy, 2008). This then raises the question, does the type of person you are, increase or decrease the chances of having anxiety?
The trait approach seeks to foresee how people may behave based on their personality traits (Albery, et al., 2014). Therefore, may help us see the connection between personality and anxiety. One of the earliest psychologists to look in to the theory of traits was Gordon Allport, and overtime psychologists used Multiple factor analysis to either expand or create different personality tests, to determine one’s personality (Seligman, Walker, & Rosenhan, 2000).
One of the main theory of personality traits was the Big-Five model of Personality (McCrae, Robert, Costa, & T., 1987). The big five is a self-report, 5-point Likert scale, consisting of 44 items (Goldberg, 1993). The big-five model of Personality identifies Allport’s trait-descriptive terms, and through multiple factor analysis’, Cattell, McCrae and Costa (2004) were lead to believe that personality is organised around five basic factors (Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, & Roy, 2008). So, do these traits, level as a factor impacting our anxiety levels?
After the appliance of factor analysis to the Big five personality survey, one of the five terms were applied to depict the personality of the individual taking the survey (Goldberg, 1993). The Big five was the theory to understand the connection between personality and psychological disorder (Poropat, 2009), and in our case Anxiety. Research has suggested that an individual’s personality influences their level of anxiety, as personality may act as a predisposing factor (Bienvenu & Stein, 2006). Which leads us to our research question, is there a relationship between personality traits and anxiety?
There will be a relationship between the levels of personality traits extroversion and emotional stability, measured through the big 5 personality factor, and levels of state anxiety in an individual, measured through the state anxiety survey.
There will be no relationship between the levels of the personality traits extroversion and emotional stability and their levels of anxiety
In the experiment, the experimental design that was employed was a within subjects, where emotional stability and extroversion were the independent variable with each variable having 10 questions each, and state anxiety was the dependent variables which had 6 questions.
A longitudinal study collecting results from 174 participants (where 120 results were used after statistical analysis removed missing data), through opportunity sampling. As undergraduate psychology students were provided with the details of the experiment as a part of their component two assignment and were requested to participate in the experiment.
Materials & Apparatus
The equipment required for this experiment is a standard computer containing the Anxiety state survey, and The Big-Five personality survey (sourced from http://ipip.ori.org/newBigFive5broadKey.htm#Agreeableness) (McCrae, Robert, Costa, & T., 1987).
one-hour periods of seminar time will be put in reserve for this experiment, for each academic year.
In the first session students are briefed about the aim of the experiment and then are asked to create a hypothesis and an appropriate research question depending on where they what to take this purpose of this study, they are then asked to complete a set of consent forms to take part in the experiment (refer to appendix C for consent forms). Students are then requested to complete a variety of the Big-Five personality survey, and report the results (anonymously). In the second session students were asked to complete the state anxiety survey, similarly to the personality test form the following week, and report the results (anonymously) through email. All raw data sent is recorded and reported to the module students anonymously.
In the third session, students are then asked to complete the appropriate statistical-data analysis, related to their research question and hypothesis.