Validation of the State Version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory in a University Sample

Christopher L. Thomas, The University of Texas at Tyler
Jerrell C. Cassady


Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Model makes a theoretical distinction between the contribution of dispositional anxiety and the transitory experience of anxiety to performance difficulties during testing situations. According to the State-Trait framework, state anxiety is viewed as the primary performance barrier for test-anxious students, and as such, educators and educational researchers have expressed interest in validated, state anxiety measurement tools. Currently, the most widely used measure of state anxiety is the state version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. However, evidence regarding the psychometric properties of this scale is relatively scarce. Therefore, the current study was designed to determine the structural validity, reliability, and concurrent/divergent validity of the instrument. Participants (N = 294) completed the state version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Cognitive Test Anxiety Scale 2nd Edition, and an exam task. Using confirmatory factor analysis, we tested the viability of one-, two-, and bi-factor solutions for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Confirmatory factor analysis results indicated a two-factor solution consisting of State Anxiety and State Calmness dimensions provided superior fit to the observed data. Results of a reliability analysis indicated that the State Anxiety and State Calmness factors demonstrated excellent internal consistency when applied to university students. Our discussion concerns the utility of the State Anxiety factor as a tool for the identification of test-anxious students.