Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Charles Spielberger, Ph.D.


Stress reactions, Psychological threat, Physical danger, Coping, Model


This study investigated the effects of individual differences in trait anxiety on cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions to stressful situations. Specifically, the effects of trait anxiety on the evaluation of psychological and physical threats to well-being were examined in relation to state-anxiety. To accomplish this goal, a proposed model consisting of elements from the Lazarus and Folkman Stress and Coping Model (1984) and Spielberger's State Trait distinctions is presented. To our knowledge, this is the first proposed model to attempt to combine trait anxiety, primary and secondary appraisals, and state anxiety and to utilize path analytic models in assessing empirical and theoretical fit. Results from mean comparisons indicate that participants reacted with higher elevations of S-anxiety in the psychological threat condition as compared to the physical threat condition. This finding is significant and unique since this is the first study that examines the differential effect of the type of stressor on the mediated path between T-anxiety and S-anxiety. Additional analyses indicated that T-Anxiety also influenced primary and secondary cognitive appraisals and participants with higher T-Anxiety demonstrated higher levels of primary appraisals and lower levels of secondary appraisals.