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The Relationship Between Expressed Anxiety and Assertiveness

By Douglas J. Pawlarczyk


The present study examines the relation between expressed anxiety and assertiveness. This relation was examined by administering the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) - State and Trait Scales, the Fear Survey Schedule-III (FSS-III), the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (RAS), the College Self-Expression Scale (CSES) and eight role-plays designed to elicit assertive responses to twenty-four students (15 females and 9 males) enrolled in a class in personality assessment at Eastern Illinois University. The eight role-plays were rated by four graduate students in psychology. Four of the role-plays were designed to elicit positive assertion. For these role-plays the raters rated the occurrence or nonoccurrence of praise and appreciation in addition to overall assertiveness. The other four role-plays were designed to elicit negative content. For these role-plays the raters rated the occurrence or nonoccurrence of compliance and a request for new behavior in addition to overall assertiveness. In the analysis positive content ratings (consisting of the occurrence of praise or appreciation) and negative content ratings (consisting of the occurrence of compliance or a request for new behavior) were examined in addition to ratings of overall assertiveness. Results consisted of an examination of the correlations between the various self-report measures, the 17 social fear items on the FSS-III and the ratings of role-play responses. Significant correlations were obtained between the two self-report measures of assertion, the RAS and the CSES, thus demonstrating convergent validity. The STAI-State Scale was significantly related to each of the assertion measures. The FSS-III items were correlated with the STAI-Trait Scale, though neither of these measures were related to the assertion inventories. The STAI-State Scale was correlated with both the FSS-III items and the STAI-Trait Scale. Overall assertiveness ratings correlated with both the CSES and the RAS, further demonstrating convergent validity. Ratings of positive content were also found to correlate with the RAS. Positive and negative content ratings correlated with ratings of overall assertiveness, but did not correlate with each other, demonstrating that the raters had adequately discriminated between positive and negative assertion. The specific content ratings proved somewhat difficult to interpret in relation to the other measures and to each other. Thus, the results of this study support the contention that assertion is inversely related to state anxiety due to its situationally specific nature. The contention that assertion is inversely related to trait anxiety would appear to be improbable given the results of this investigation. Further research is necessary in order to determine the specific content to be rated in behavioral role-plays eliciting assertive responses

Topics: Psychology
Publisher: The Keep
Year: 1980
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Provided by: The Keep
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