Spangler, Gottfried and Hofmann, Hubert and Pekrun, Reinhard and Kramer, Klaudia (2002) Students' emotions, physiological reactions, and coping at exams. Anxiety, Stress and Coping 15 (4), pp. 413-432.
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The findings of two studies are presented which aimed to assess students' emotional and adrenocortical reactions to an exam, their biobehavioral relations, and their relations to coping. In Study I ( N = 40), five different exam-related trait emotions, i.e. anxiety, hopelessness, anger, joy, and hope as well as coping styles (problem-focused, emotion-focused and avoidant coping) were assessed by questionnaire. In addition, the respective state emotions were assessed by questionnaire before and after the exam. In Study II ( N = 25) the five state emotions and the coping responses were assessed on an event-by-event basis by a video-supported semi-structured interview about the exam. In both studies saliva samples were collected before and after the exam for determination of adrenocortical activity (cortisol).
Whereas negative emotions were highest before or at the beginning of the exam, positive emotions increased during the exam and reached their highest values afterwards. While there was no general within-cortisol response, the findings indicate an anticipatory response in both studies. Associations between emotional and adrenocortical reactions could be identified only when using the fine-grained assessment procedure of Study II. While state emotions were associated with their respective traits, trait anxiety and hopelessness also predicted the cortisol responses. The influence of coping on emotional regulation was observed both on the emotional and adrenocortical level. In particular, in both studies emotion-focused coping was related to low anxiety and cortisol responses. The findings show that emotional as well as adrenocortical responses depend on the situation and are co-regulated by stable psychological characteristics, emotional dispositions as well as coping abilities.
|Institutions:||Psychology and Pedagogy > Institut für Psychologie > Lehrstuhl für Psychologie VI (Pädagogische Psychologie und Medienpsychologie) - Prof. Dr. Helmut Lukesch|
|Keywords:||Examination Stress; Emotion; Coping; Adrenocortical Reactivity|
|Subjects:||100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology|
|Refereed:||Yes, this version has been refereed|
|Created at the University of Regensburg:||Yes|
|Deposited On:||11 Mar 2008 12:18|
|Last Modified:||30 Oct 2009 09:27|