Transitioning to university: Coping styles as mediators between adaptive-maladaptive perfectionism and test anxiety

Daisy Mary Vanstone*, Richard Edward Hicks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
803 Downloads (Pure)


Test anxiety is an important issue in academic settings as it is related to high drop-out rates. Despite research highlighting the effects of test anxiety in students, few studies have examined mechanisms that explain the relationship between students’ pre-dispositions and their experience of test anxiety. To shed light on how universities can support students during the first year of university, the current study used Spielberger and Vagg's (1995) transactional process model of test anxiety as a framework for examining whether multiple coping styles explain the relationships between adaptive/maladaptive perfectionism and test anxiety. Participants (148) were first year students from south-east Queensland universities. Participants completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale - 21, Almost Perfect Scale - Revised, Brief COPE Inventory, Test Anxiety Inventory, Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, and a demographic questionnaire. Findings indicated that adaptive/maladaptive perfectionism worked through avoidant emotion-focused coping to predict levels of test anxiety. Thus, students with adaptive perfectionism may experience less test anxiety as they use less avoidant emotion-focused coping whereas students with maladaptive perfectionism may experience more test anxiety as they use more avoidant emotion-focused coping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date24 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019


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