Test anxiety is a prevalent issue that many individuals struggle with. Previous research has indicated that individuals with higher levels of neuroticism are more prone to experiencing test anxiety. However, there is some indirect evidence suggesting that cognitive reappraisal may play a role in moderating this relationship. Thus, the present work aimed to examine the role of cognitive reappraisal in the effect of neuroticism on test anxiety through two studies.
Study 1 used a questionnaire approach, utilizing the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI), the Neuroticism Extraversion Openness Five-factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), and the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) with a sample of 596 participants. Study 2 conducted a test-related emotional picture rating task to better measure emotional responses. A total of 180 participants took part in Study 2.
Study 1 and Study 2 have converged results: (1) neuroticism positively predicted individuals’ test anxiety; (2) the predictive effect of neuroticism on test anxiety was moderated by cognitive reappraisal—the higher cognitive reappraisal ability, the lower the predictive effect of neuroticism on test anxiety.
These results indicate that individuals with higher levels of neuroticism may experience stronger test anxiety, while cognitive reappraisal can mitigate test anxiety in neurotic individuals.