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Situational Contingencies of Anxiety: What Anxieties are Associated with Each of the Big Five?

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abstract
In an if...then pattern, the "if" represents a feature of the situation and the "then" represents a behavior that occurs in that situation. The present study investigated if...then patterns of anxiety that are associated with each of the Big Five personality traits. To form hypotheses, I turned to the literature on the link between goals and the Big Five. Goals may lead to anxiety when they are threatened or unfulfilled in specific situations. The specific features, or "ifs," of situations that may provoke anxiety that were coded in the situations were drawn from the literature on goals and were: social conflict with friends, social conflict with a romantic partner, social conflict with family, potential embarrassment or rejection, academic impact and financial impact. I hypothesized that each of the Big Five would have a distinct pattern of relationships with the situational determinants of anxiety. For example, I hypothesized that conscientious individuals are expected to be more anxious in situations with high levels of the feature financial impact, because conscientious people report having the goal of saving money. A list of anxiety-provoking situations was developed by having participants of the pre-study provide recent situations in which they felt anxious and by having members of the research lab generate situations. These situations were cleaned up and made into the situational anxiety inventory. Lab members coded the six features in all of the situations. Participants rated their anxiety level in each situation and completed trait scales. The results showed that agreeable individuals were more anxious in situations that involved conflict with friends or conflict with family, conscientious people were more anxious in situations with high academic impact and less anxious in situations with high conflict with friends, individuals high on neuroticism were more anxious in situations with high academic impact or high financial impact, but openness to experience and extraversion were unrelated to anxieties about any of the features.
subject
anxiety
behavioral signature
Big Five
if then pattern
situational contingency
contributor
Thomas, Sarah Linnea (author)
Stone, Eric R (committee chair)
Petrocelli, John V (committee member)
Masicampo, Emer J. C. (committee member)
Clarke, Phillip B (committee member)
date
2012-09-05T08:35:19Z (accessioned)
2012-09-05T08:35:19Z (available)
2012 (issued)
degree
Psychology (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/37439 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Situational Contingencies of Anxiety: What Anxieties are Associated with Each of the Big Five?
type
Thesis

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