The Reading Anxiety-Reading Achievement Link in College Students

The Reading Anxiety-Reading Achievement Link in College Students

First Author: Mia Daucourt -- Florida State University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Ashley Edwards
Keywords: Reading achievement, Anxiety, cognitive processes
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose. Math anxiety is a well-documented construct with evidence for its role in negative math outcomes (Ashcraft, 2002), however the examination of reading anxiety and its link with reading outcomes is much less established. The present study attempts to explore the existence of reading anxiety (RA) in college students and how it relates to concurrent reading outcomes. Method. Our study sample was composed of 321 undergraduate students from Florida State University who participated for class credit. RA was operationalized as a specific fear of situations that require the processing of text-based information and was assessed by a researcher-created, 20-item pilot measure for of RA college students. Reading was operationalized as Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) and measured using three timed, computer-administered passages from the GORT4, which were used to create a latent factor of ORF. Results. Our RA measure was found to be highly reliable (Cronbach’s alpha=.92). A parallel analysis determined that RA was best represented by a four-factor structure, which a follow-up factor analysis showed was comprised of avoidance, self-consciousness, carelessness, and fear of negative evaluation. Then, structural equation modeling with the ORF factor predicting each of the four RA factors showed that ORF predicted unique variance in every component of RA. Finally, a quantile regression analysis determined that the association between ORF and RA depended on the level of ORF performance for only the self-consciousness and fear of negative evaluation factors. Conclusion. The present study provides empirical support for the existence of RA in college students and a significant link between ORF and RA, with a more pronounced association for those that struggle with ORF. These results highlight the importance of accounting for affective factors related to reading when pinpointing the sources of poor reading-related outcomes, even at the college level.