Career salience and occupational choice of test anxious college students


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Career salience and occupational choice of test anxious college students
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viii, 107 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Green, Margaret Jordan, 1924-
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Test anxiety   ( lcsh )
Job satisfaction   ( lcsh )
Personality and occupation   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis--University of Florida.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 75-81).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Margaret Jordan Green.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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Full Text







Copyright 1977


Margaret Jordan Green


Anne Murray Green

1953 1976

In Loving Memory

She was


a great joy to me,

always will be.


I particularly want to thank my dissertation chairman, Dr. E.L.

Tolbert. His calm encouragement and support have been deeply appreciated.

The informal meetings for his doctoral students which he held in his

home were particularly helpful and are one example of how generous he is

with his time.

I would also like to thank the other two members of my committee,

Dr. Franz Epting and Dr. Garr Cranney. They both offered many helpful

suggestions and provided much support and encouragement.

Special thanks go to the entire staff of the Reading and Study

Skills Center. Everyone had a contribution to make to this study. The

students who participated as subjects deserve particular thanks for their

cheerful cooperation.

And most of all I want to thank my husband and my children for their

incredible patience, cooperation, and enthusiasm. I can never thank them

enough; I can only promise them that they will never have to go through

this again.





Overview of Test Anxiety Thi

Purpose of the Study .

Research Questions .

Definition of Terms .


Test Anxiety .

Career Salience .

Occupational Choice: InterE

of Choice .


The Setting .

The Sample .

Collection of Data .

The Instruments .

Hypotheses and Analysis of C

Limitations .

Follow-up of Subjects .


Description of the Sample .

Analysis of Data .


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. 57

Additional Findings and Analyses .


Summary . . .

Discussion . . .

Conclusions . . .








S. 63

S. 66

S. 66

S 68

S. 72

S. 75

S 83


S. 89

S. 91



CLASS . . . 93







CENTER SAMPLE . .. . 10.1





Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Margaret Jordan Green

December 1977

Chairman: E.L. Tolbert
Major Department: Counselor Education

The principal reason for this study was to test a hypothesis that

there is a positive relationship between career salience and test anxiety.

This hypothesis was developed from the investigator's clinical observa-

tions and from Rollo May's theory of anxiety, i.e. that anxiety stems

from a threat to a value which a person perceives as essential to his or

her existence as a personality.

The investigator developed the Ranked List of Life Values (RLLV) as

an instrument to measure career salience. This instruments asks the sub-

jects to imagine themselves to be 80 years old and to be reflecting on a

full and satisfying life. They are then asked to rank ten items, given in

statement form, in order of importance. Among the value statements to be

ranked is "I have had a satisfying career in an occupation of my choice."

The RLLV and the Mandler-Sarason Test Anxiety Scale (TAS) were used

with a sample of 60 students from the University of Florida's Reading

and Study Skills Center to test the principal hypothesis. The Reading

Center students represented a good cross section of college students in

occupational interest and in academic ability. Limitations are first,

that they were mainly from the lower division and, second, that they pre-

sumably did not include students completely apathetic toward academic


The TAS was the 37 item true-false version. Students in the upper

third of the distribution (scoring above 21) were designated high test

anxious (HA); those in the lower third (scoring below 13), low test anx-

ious (LA). The principal hypothesis was not supported by the data. No

significant relationship (p < .05) between career salience, as measured

by assigned rank in a list of ten values, and test anxiety was found.

The Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) was also administered.

Occupational type, as measured by VPI raw scores, was not found to be

related to either test anxiety or career salience. Breadth of career

choice, as measured by the Acquiescence Scale (Ac Scale) was found to be

related (p < .05) to test anxiety but in the opposite direction to that

predicted. LA students were found to score significantly lower on the Ac

Scale. Finally, it was found that female college students are as fre-

quently test anxious as are males, and rank career as highly as do male

college students.

A further examination and analysis of the data by sex indicated that

there were significant interactions between sex and test anxiety for two

of the VPI types, Investigative and Artistic. HA women scored signifi-

cantly higher (p < .01) than LA women on these two scales. Furthermore,

on the Ac Scale, LA women scored significantly lower (p < .001) than HA

women. No significant differences (p < .05) were found between the means

for the male subgroups on these three scales. Discussion of results for

these later findings as well as for those of the main part of the study in-

cluded implications for counselors and for future research.




Test anxiety is a continuing problem among college students, and

with the increased pressures of the 1970's caused by difficulties in

finding employment, it may be more intense in the future. The economic

situation has forced on many universities both more selective admission

standards and larger classes. As a result, college students today are

faced with tougher competition, less personal attention from teachers,

and an increased concern for making a living after graduation. Those

students planning on graduate programs are doubly threatened; they

must perform well on course tests in order to maintain a high grade

point average, and they are faced with the additional hurdle of graduate

admission tests. These pressures, severe enough for ordinary students,

aggravate the problem of test anxious students and put them at an even

greater disadvantage. For college teachers and counselors, a better

understanding of the factors involved in test anxiety is needed to

treat the problem more effectively.

Overview of Test Anxiety Theories

In this study, test anxiety is defined as an unpleasant state,

characterized by autonomic arousal and disproportionate worry, taking

place before, during, or after a test, and perceived by the test taker

as having a detrimental effect on test performance.


Test means, in this context, a written examination in formal academic

surroundings. Autonomic arousal refers to involuntary physiological

changes such as sweating or trembling.

All the theories of anxiety, per se, will not be reviewed in this

study partly because of space limitations, but mainly because some are

not particularly relevant to the special problem of test anxiety.

Moreover, insofar as measurement is concerned, many studies reveal

a distinction between general anxiety and test anxiety (Alpert & Haber,

1960; Desiderato & Koskinen, 1969). Sarason (1972) suggests "that

the overlap between test and general anxiety is not sufficient to

make the two concepts synonymous They are positively correlated,

but not at the level of a reliability coefficient" (p. 383). However,

those theories of anxiety or specific aspects of them, which appear to

cast some light on the special problem of test anxiety will be considered


Wolpe's theory of anxiety is the most widely applied to the

particular manifestation of test anxiety. According to Wolpe (1958),

a specific anxiety is a conditioned emotional habit and nothing more than

that. A predisposing condition may exist before the anxiety is acquired,

but it is not a necessary antecedent; it is-sufficient to focus on the

habit itself and eliminate it through therapeutic techniques such as

systematic desensitization. For nearly twenty years, Wolpe's technique

and variations of it have been the treatment of choice for test anxiety.

Paul's study (1966) showing the superiority of systematic desensitization

over insight-oriented psychotherapy in reducing speech anxiety led to

even greater enthusiasm for Wolpe's method and for the theory behind it.

Lazarus and Serber (1968), however, question the efficacy of

systematic desensitization and cite several studies in which the

beneficial results were not obtained or were not enduring. Furthermore,

they record several case studies in which systematic desensitization

was used inappropriately. The indiscriminate use of this technique to

treat test anxiety can be considered a case in point. A student may

be realistically, not neurotically, anxious about tests because he or she

is inadequately prepared academically. These students need training

in study skills and practice in test taking. Many experimenters

using systematic desensitization report success as measured by a

decrease in self-reported test anxiety and perhaps an improved performance

in laboratory learning tasks; a rise in grade point average, however, is

less frequently reported. Allen (1972), in his critical review of 12

studies concludes that "the literature supports the contention that

a combination of densensitization and study counseling promotes greater

academic performance than either procedure alone" (p.259).

Students may well be experiencing test anxiety because of a
combination of neurotic and realistic bases. In these cases, study

counseling may have a two-fold beneficial effect; more efficient and

sophisticated study techniques directly improve performance of tests

and thus reduce anxiety and, indirectly, greater competence gained

through improved study skills alleviate the feeling of helplessness.

Kahn (1976), for example, found that training in "testwiseness" alone

reduced self-reported anxiety (although it did not improve performance

on a reading comprehension test).


Helplessness is an important component in many anxiety theories.

Basic anxiety, as defined by Hinsie and Campbell (1970) is "Horney's term

for a feeling of loneliness and helplessness toward a potentially hostile

world" (p.50). Tn The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, Homey describes

the ways in which the inevitable helplessness of a child is an underlying

basis for anxiety:

The more helpless a child is made the less will it
dare to feel or show opposition, and the longer will
such opposition be delayed. In this situation the
underlying feeling--or what we may call the motto--
is: I have to repress my hostility because I need
you. (1937 / 1964, p.86)

Freud, too, discussed the relationship of helplessness and anxiety in

the addenda to The Problem of Anxiety (1936/1963, pp. 112-117). In

Horney's theory, however, the concept of helplessness plays a more

central role.

The helplessness-hostility conflict is related directly to test

anxiety by Sarason, Davidson, Lighthall, Waite, and Ruebush (1960). As

summarized by Izard (1972), Sarason et al analyze test anxiety as follows:

In order to avoid real danger, the child has to
repress hostility toward a parent for one or more
previous test-like evaluations. Next the child feels
guilty for his hostility toward his usually beloved
parent. The guilt has to be relegated to the uncon-
scious as much as possible, but when it does become
conscious such as in the test situation the child's
negative feelings put him in a self-derogatory atti-
tude. Ultimately the self-derogating attitude leads
the child to doubt his ability in the testing situa-
tion, and to compound the uncertainty the child tends
to fantasize about the parent's retaliation for the
child's hostility. (p.56)

Sarason and Koenig (1965) have found this self-derogating

attitude characteristic of test anxious college students as

measured by a high number of negative self-references in samples of

free verbalization. In a more recent article, Sarason (1975) states,

"available evidence suggests that the highly test-anxious individual

is self-centered in that he is preoccupied with present and potential

evaluations of his work. He worries about himself, his intellectual

wherewithal, and the reactions of others to his performance" (p. 149).

A recent trend in test anxiety treatment focuses on this maladaptive

self-concern (Wine, 1971; Meichenbaum, 1972; Sarason, 1975). The

following anecodote illustrates what takes place in the mind of a test

anxious and overly vigilant worrier who is preoccupied with self-

relevant instead of task-relevant cues. The English poet, Stephen

Spender, writes about his examination anxiety in his autobiography


Certain examinations seemed as difficult as
scaling some great height. Indeed, to climb a real
Alp would have been easier, because it would have
presented a tangible difficulty, whereas the diffi-
culty contained within Examinations seemed impalpable.
.. Even answering a question in class became a
problem, for the idea of some insuperable Difficulty
lurking within the question distracted me from the
question itself. I meditated on the idea of Diffi-
culty: what was Difficult could not be easy; but
if I knew the answer that would be easy, therefore
it could not be the correct answer, and the question
must conceal some hidden trap. How often at school
the boy next to me, or the one next to him, gave the
right answer, which I had known, but could not believe
to be correct, just because it appeared easy. (p. 8)

In his 1975 article, Sarason speculates that there are two types

of test anxiety: the first is a more focused type of problem stemming

from inadequate learning experience or from past traumas; the second

type is of a more generalized nature and "is characterized by (a)

anxiety and worry in other areas and (b) conflict and ambivalence over

achievement and being evaluated" (p. 152). As stated earlier in this

chapter, the first has, until recently, received the most attention in

the literature; the maladaptive self-focusing worry component is of

increasing current interest. But rarely does one see a direct

reference to "conflict and ambivalence over achievement" as a con-

tributing factor to test anxiety. Perhaps this is because it is too

obvious to deserve mention, or it might be ignored because it is so

difficult to identify and quantify. Many writers are concerned with

motivational conflict in college students but do not suggest that it

might be a cause of forgetting previously learned material during a

test. An exception is Beery (1975) who discusses fear of failure, level

of aspiration, and success avoidance. "They [students] even suffer test

anxiety, which can prevent anyone from showing all that she or he

knows" (p. 198). Roulet (1976) traces success neurosis among college

senior men to anxiety over competition with their fathers, but only

indirectly alludes to test anxiety. Malnig (1967) discusses fear of

parental competition, but only in connection with career choice.

Bordin and Kopplin (1973) also write about motivational conflict and

career development. A quotation from Freud best expresses the psycho-

dynamics of success neurosis:

Other inhibitions evidently subserve a desire for
self-punishment, as for example not infrequently
those in the sphere of vocational activity. The
ego dares not do certain things because they would
bring an advantage and a success which the strict
superego has forbidden. Thereupon the ego renounces
these activities also, in order not to become involved
in conflict with the superego. (1936/1963, p. 15)

Horner's studies (1970, 1972) on women's motive to avoid success,

and the recent controversy her conclusions have precipitated (Robbins &

Robbins, 1973; Tresemer, 1974; Beery, 1976) add to our understanding of

achievement conflict. Perhaps, one application of this renewed interest

and greater understanding will be to relate it to test anxiety.

To summarize some of the possible factors contributing to test

anxiety, students may fall into any of the following categories or

into any number of combinations of them: (a) those with undisciplined

or naive study habits, (b) those who have a conditioned fear of tests,

because of specific traumas in test situations or a more generalized

anxiety over being evaluated by authority figures, (c) those who, under

pressure, turn their thoughts inward to self-preoccupied worry instead

of outward toward the task, and (d) those whose unconscious fear of suc-

cess leads them to block known material and compulsively change right

answers to wrong ones. In addition to all of these, test anxiety may

sometimes involve still another contributing factor, that of career

salience, or the degree of importance attached to a career in an individ-

ual's value system.

Purpose of the Study

In over two years' experience as a counselor who interviewed and

treated a large number of test anxious students, the writer observed

that many of them seemed unusually committed to their career choices,

and that they saw the chosen career as an extremely important part of

their future. Career was a salient feature of their planned lives; to

put it another way, they seemed high in career salience. The vocational

theorist, Zytowski, defines career salience as "the degree to which the

person derives his life satisfactions from work, as opposed to non-work

sources" (1970).

It was to determine whether or not the subjectively observed corre-

lation between test anxiety and career salience would be found in a

controlled inquiry that this study was undertaken. If, using controlled

conditions, an adequate number of subjects, and more valid and reliable

measures than personal observation, it could be shown that such a

correlation exists, then there could follow several implications for

the counseling profession. For example, more emphasis might be placed

on vocational theory in the education of counselors, and it might be

better integrated into counseling theory as a whole. Administratively,

colleges might arrange for career counselors to work more closely with

those counselors concerned with study skills and academic performance.

Regardless of the results of a controlled inquiry, more knowledge would

be gained regarding the correlates of both test anxiety and career


The hypothetical relationship between career salience and test

anxiety can be explained, in general, by self-concept theory; that is,

that an individual perceives himself or herself as being in a particular

occupation and becomes anxious when access to that career seems to be

threatened. But one specific theory of anxiety seems particularly

applicable; Rollo May (1950) defines anxiety as follows:

Anxiety is the apprehension cued off by a threat to some
value which the individual holds essential to his exis-
tence as a personality. The threat may be to physical or
psychological life (death, or loss of freedom), or it may

be to some other value which the individual identifies
with his existence (patriotism, the love of another
person, "success," etc.). This identification of a
value with one's existence as a personality is vividly
illustrated in the remark of Tom in his period
of anxiety over whether he would be retained in his
job or be forced to resort again to government relief:
"If I couldn't support my family, I'd as soon jump off
the end of the dock." This, put simply, is his way of
saying that if he could not preserve the self-respecting
position of being the responsible wage-earner, his whole
life would have no meaning and he might as well not
exist What will always be true in anxiety is
that the threat is to a value held by that particular
individual to be essential to his existence and conse-
quently to his security as a personality. (p. 191)

In a counseling session with a student who had been referred for

test anxiety, the writer was reminded of the despair implicit in Tom's

remark. This student was an accounting major, but he had trouble per-

forming adequately on accounting tests. He would work the problems

incorrectly on a test, but as soon as he returned to his room, he could

solve them without looking at his notes. In the course of talking about

his career plans, the following dialogue took place:

Counselor: Jack, if you couldn't be an accountant, what would
you do?

Student: You mean if I flunked out of here? Well I'd look
into some other schools with easier standards and
start applying and .

Counselor: No, that's not what I meant. Suppose I looked
into a crystal ball and said to you, "Jack, you
are never going to be an accountant." How would
you feel?

Student: I'd feel lost, completely lost.

It should be stressed, of course, that all career salient students

are not necessarily test anxious. Many are so competent, emotionally

and academically, that their goals are realistically attainable. They

may have a history of test success, and be comfortable and confident in

situations involving evaluation. They may, even when anxious, be aided

by a coping defense style of repression and thus characteristically

block out all thoughts of failure, concentrating fully on the tasks

required by a test. And they may be free of motivational conflict over


But, at best, the choice of a career is almost invariably a com-

promise. Ginzberg (1972) states that "our reformulated theory is that

occupational choice is a lifelong process of decision-making in which

the individual seeks to find the optimal fit between his career prepara-

tion and goals and the realities of the world of work" (p. 172). Kelly

(1955), although not primarily a vocational theorist, applies his theory

of personal constructs to vocational choice:

One can frequently see in a person's spontaneous choice of
vocation, or a course of study in school, his seeking of a
happy compromise between what is challenging and what is
safe .. In gaining access to personal constructs through
an analysis of vocational experience, one should always take
account of the compromise between adventure and security the
vocation represents for the client. (pp. 748-749)

For students concerned about future employment but not quite ready to

give up what they perceive as challenging and adventurous, this stage of

their vocational development and their changing self-concept could well

be one of approach-avoidance conflict manifesting itself in test anxiety.

Security can also be seen in a symbolic as well as an economic way.

A vocational choice may represent the security of a settled identity to

a person caught in an identity struggle. Bordin and Kopplin (1973)

write that "for the college-going youth, the college years are the

period of sharpest focus in identity formation and a time when vocational


choice and identity formation are intimately intertwined, perhaps even

fused" (p. 155).

It should be emphasized that career salience does not imply malad-

justment. Indeed, it has generally been considered the opposite--a sign

of vocational maturity and responsible commitment. But even for capable

students with realistic, attainable career goals, a high degree of career

salience can aggravate or induce test anxiety if they are already pre-

disposed to it, simply because they place such a high value on attaining

their goal. Every test becomes a threat to this value so essential to

their existence.

Research Questions

The purpose of this study, then, is to test a hypothesis, derived

both from personal observation and from Rollo May's theory of anxiety,

that a high degree of career salience is one of the correlates of test

anxiety. The principal research questions are as follows:

1. Are high test anxious students higher in career
salience than low test anxious students?

2. Are high test anxious students more narrow in
their choice of careers than are low test
anxious students?

3. Are high test anxious students more firmly
decided on their careers than are low test
anxious students?

If test anxiety is a result of the wide variety of contributing

factors suggested by the theories and studies discussed in this chapter,

then it should not be related to a particular occupational type. Holland's

typology is an appropriate model because it integrates personality with

vocational interests. In a recent introduction to his theory, Holland


(1973) states as background principles (a) "The choice of a vocation is

an expression of personality" (p. 6) and (b) "Interest inventories are

personality inventories" (p. 7). Using Holland's model, the following

question is asked:

4. Is there a relationship between test anxiety and any
of Holland's six occupational types?

Again, the complexity of test anxiety suggests it is not related to

sex and leads to the next question to be investigated:

5. Are women students as frequently test anxious
as men?

Finally, to investigate some characteristics of career salience,

the following two questions are asked:

6. Are women students as high in career salience
as men?

7. Is there a relationship between career salience
and any of Holland's six occupational types?

Definition of Terms

Test anxiety and career salience have been defined earlier in this

chapter and will be defined operationally in Chapter III. A note on the

choice of the word salience instead of saliency: although the latter was

used by Kuhlen (1959), Masih (1967), and Zytowski (1970), salience is the

preferred dictionary choice, and career salience is the term currently

used by writers (e.g. Cooper, 1976; Greenhaus, 1976).

Occupational choice will be used interchangeably with career choice

and vocational choice.

Narrowness of choice will be defined operationally in Chapter III.



This review will cover three areas. The first is a section on

test anxiety and will emphasize theory and trends more than specific

varieties of treatment. The second covers career salience, and will

include a review of differing attitudes and definitions as well as

personality correlates of this variable. The last section will be

about those aspects of occupational choice which are of special con-

cern in this study: occupational interests, decidedness of career

choice, and narrowness of choice.

Test Anxiety

This review will focus on two basic trends in test anxiety

research: the first is a behavioral approach and is based on Wolpe's

(1958, 1969) theory of anxiety and therapeutic techniques; the second

may be called dynamic and is as concerned with underlying causes and

personality correlates as it is with methods of treatment. Both groups

of researchers have studied test anxiety partly to discover ways of

treating college students who need help and partly because it is a

manageable problem to examine, manipulate, and measure in university

laboratories, with a large supply of willing subjects. In other words,

test anxiety is a much more common problem among college students than

is, for example, agoraphobia; it is, therefore, a more appropriate

target for both clinicians and researchers. Both groups--the behavioral

and the dynamic--expect to be able to generalize from their findings

to other problems of anxiety; the emphasis, however, is different.

Behavioral Research

The behavioral group concentrates on simplifying and perfecting

techniques under controlled experimental conditions. The efficacy

of these techniques is measured by self-report instruments such as

the Achievement Anxiety Test (Alpert & Haber, 1960), the Test Anxiety

Questionnaire (Mandler & Sarason, 1952), the Test Anxiety Scale (Sara-

son, 1958a, 1972), or the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger,

Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970).

Wolpe's systematic desensitization is the most widely used tech-

nique, and much of the literature concerns simplifications and adapta-

tions of it. For example, Lazarus (1961) introduced a more economical

group procedure, and Emery and Krumboltz (1967) developed standardized

hierarchies for specific phobias. Massed, or marathon, sessions shorten-

ing the overall length of treatment are another effective development

(Suinn & Hall, 1970; Dawley & Wenrich, 1973). Suinn and Richardson

(1971) have also developed the variation of anxiety management training

which eliminates the construction of standard hierarchies by having

subjects imagine their own choice of an anxiety-stimulus scene.

Some other behavioral techniques which have been applied success-

fully to test anxiety include implosive therapy (Prochaska, 1971),

reactive inhibition (Graff, MacLean, & Loving, 1971), and covert rein-

forcement (Guidry & Randolph, 1974). Another innovation is the use of

relaxation techniques alone (Denney, 1974; Paul, 1969). Whereas this

appears to be a full circle return to Jacobson's (1938) original exer-

cises in progressive relaxation training, the procedure has been consid-

erably shortened and simplified since then. Wolpe (1958), also, reported

a case in which he used relaxation as an end in itself rather than as a

component of systematic desensitization.

She [Wolpe's patient] was astonished at how easy it was for
her to become calm through muscle relaxation. She deliber-
ately calmed herself in an increasing range of situations,
and their anxiety-evoking power waned and eventually disap-
peared. (p. 138)

The advantages of the relaxation technique over the complete

desensitization procedure are that it is shorter and simpler to explain

and administer, it is useful for those clients who have difficulty in

visualizing the hierarchical scenes, and it can be applied more flexibly.

Bernstein and Borkovec (1973) have produced a useful manual for the

helping professions with complete descriptions of the steps in progres-

sive relaxation training. Russell and Sipich (1974) reported successful

treatment of test anxiety with the technique of cue-controlled relaxation

in which the client--after attaining a relaxed state through progressive

relaxation--repeats silently the word "calm" with each breath exhalation.

There are obvious parallels in this technique with meditation practices.

In fact, meditation has been successfully used with school children to

alleviate test anxiety (Linden, 1973); no studies have been reported

with test anxious college students, however. In a recent review article,

Shapiro and Zifferblatt (1976) discuss the general similarities and

differences between Zen meditation and behavioral self-control, clinical

applications, and implications for future research.

Some studies have not found relaxation to be effective, however; nor,

for that matter, has systematic desensitization invariably been effective

(e.g. Lament & Sherman, 1971; Meyer & Crisp, 1966). Goldfried and Trier

(1974) review many conflicting reports and argue that inconsistent results

may be due to differing explanations given to the subjects regarding the

usefulness of the technique. They found that subjects who were told

that they were learning an active coping skill to self-control anxiety

were more successful in reducing speech anxiety than were those who

received neutral instructions. Furthermore, subjects in the self-control

group continued to improve after the conclusion of the experimental


Another trend in behavioral research has been toward what Lazarus

and Serber (1968) call broad spectrum therapy. In their article on the

inappropriate use of desensitization, they suggest more careful diagnosis

of phobic problems, and cite several case histories where re-education,

modeling, practice, and supportive therapy groups were more effective,

singly or in combination, than the traditional method of systematic

desensitization. A mixed format of techniques is also recommended by

Akin and Kunzman (1974), who found that practice sessions combined with

desensitization were as effective as desensitization alone, but, more

importantly, the combined approach resulted in less attrition of subjects.

Test anxiety is a particularly appropriate target for a mixed format

approach. Katahn, Strenger, and Cherry (1966) combined systematic desen-

sitization (with emphasis on additional relaxation practice) and group

counseling centering on personal problems related to achievement and

test taking, time use, and goal setting. There was a significant de-

crease on a self-report test anxiety measure, and an increase in grade

point averages. The authors also reported that

While the relaxation procedures and the desensitization
process seemed important to the students, they invariably
felt (in response to a questionnaire item at the conclu-
sion of the program) that the most important aspects of
the program were just being able to talk about their prob-
lems with other students, finding out that these were having
similar experiences, and learning how to organize their
study habits. (p. 548)

In a more intricate research design, Mitchell and Ng (1972)

obtained the same positive results in improved academic performance

and reduced anxiety by combining study oriented group counseling with

desensitization. Larsen (1972) also reports success with an eclectic

approach involving relaxation, reactive inhibition, and group counseling

in which

Interaction is related to present and past emotions
associated with academic success, family expectations,
and self-goals Vicarious experiences in test
taking are given with the associated threats of limited
timing, difficult comprehension passages, and ambiguous
questions. (p. 201)

In a carefully controlled study, Allen (1973) found that anxiety was

decreased and grades improved with both group counseling in study

skills and self-administered use of study skills manuals--although there

was greater attrition with the latter treatment.

Interest in the cognitive factors in behavior modification is

another recent trend in behavioral research with useful applications

to test anxiety treatment. Meichenbaum (1972) is the major investigator

in this area which sees self-statements as types of behavior subject to

modification. Thus, a test anxious student may first be made aware of

maladaptive self-verbalizations and then be trained "to emit task-

relevant self-statements and to perform incompatible behaviors such as

relaxation" (p. 25). As a technique, cognitive modification has much in

common with Coue's autosuggestion (1922), Kelly's fixed-role therapy

(1955), and the rational-emotive therapy of Ellis (1962). Goldfried

and Goldfried (1975) fully describe therapeutic guidelines for rational

restructuring in a test anxious group (pp. 91-104).

In its specific application to test anxiety, Meichenbaum's approach

is similar to that of Wine (1971), who emphasizes direction of attention.

It is also congruent with much of Sarason's approach, which will be

covered in the next section.

Dynamic Theory and Research

As opposed to behaviorists, who focus on elimination of symptoms,

a more analytically oriented group of researchers emphasize the dynamic

basis of test anxiety. This dynamic hypothesis, which stresses the

underlying antecedent conditions of test anxiety, has been described in

the preceding chapter on page 4. Its proponents, including George

Mandler, Irwin Sarason, and Seymour Sarason, form what is known as the

Yale School (in contrast to the Iowa School which emphasizes the study

of general manifest anxiety as a characteristic individual trait). As

Levitt (1967) explained, the Yale School believes that "there may be a

general trait of anxiety, but behavioral science is not yet prepared to

investigate it. It is first necessary to thoroughly study important

situational anxieties" (p. 117).

The Yale theorists chose to focus on test anxiety as a target study


It is a near-universal experience in our culture .
It is not hyperbolic to maintain that quality or level
of test performance is one of the most important deter-
minants of the lives of members of our society. We
are a test-giving and test-conscious culture. (S. Sarason,
Davidson, Lighthall, Waite, & Ruebush, 1960, p. 8)

In focusing on test anxiety we have assumed that whatever
understanding of that anxiety we may gain will have signif-
icance for our understanding of anxiety in general. (p. 2)

S. Sarason, Mandler, and Craighill (1952) summarize their theoretical

position as follows:

Anxiety will be considered as a learned drive with the
characteristics of a strong stimulus. When anxiety has
been learned as a response to situations involving
intellectual achievement (e.g. test situations), two
types of responses will tend to be evoked: (a)
Responses which are not task-relevant; self-centered
feelings of inadequacy, attempts at leaving the situa-
tion, etc. (b) Task-relevant responses which tend to
reduce the anxiety by leading to the completion of the
task. These are identical with other task-relevant
responses evoked by the testing situation. (p. 561)

Alpert and Haber's (1960) Achievement Anxiety Test measures both

types of responses by including two scales--items which indicate debili-

tating anxiety (response type a) and those which indicate facilitating

anxiety (response type.b). Liebert and Morris (1967) have analyzed

debilitating anxiety and note two factors: worry or cognitive concern

and emotionality or autonomic arousal. Worry includes concern about

one's ability relative to that of others, concern with failure, and

self-deprecatory feelings. Several studies with laboratory learning

tasks demonstrate the maladaptive nature of the worry component.

S. Sarason, Mandler, and Craighill (1952) describe an experiment in


which high test anxious (HA) students were divided into two groups and

given different directions regarding the same multi-trial learning

task. One group was told it was easy "for college students"; the other,

that it was so difficult that no one was expected to finish. The HA

group worked faster and more accurately when given the not-expected-to-

finish instructions than did the LA group. The two groups performed

in the reverse manner when given the easy-to-finish directions. As

the HA's experienced repeated failure (contrary to their expectations)

their performance declined. The LA's, under the stress of challenging

conditions, were apparently motivated to attend even more fully to the


In another experiment, I. Sarason (1958b) obtained similar results

with reassuring instructions (e.g. "these kinds of lists are hard, and

so it's no surprise or matter of concern if you progress slowly at first

and make mistakes") and neutral instructions.

I. Sarason and Ganzer (1962) found further evidence of the poor

self-concept of high test anxious students in a study involving free

verbalization sessions with an experimenter who recorded the number of

negative self-references. They found that HA students made a significantly

higher number than LA students. In a related study, I. Sarason and Koenig

(1965) confirmed the earlier results regarding self-references and found,

further, that HA students made fewer negative statements regarding their

parents. They conclude that "high test-anxious subjects tended to be

more self-critical and self-debasing in their descriptions of themselves

than low test-anxious subjects" and that "test-anxiety scores are not


a function simply of a tendency to emit socially undesirable statements.

Rather, as already suggested, they seem to reflect self-preoccupation

and low-esteem" (p. 620).

In Wine's (1971) study on test anxiety and the direction of atten-

tion, she concludes that "the reason 'worry' debilitates task performance

is that it is attentionally demanding and distracts attention from the

task" (p. 98). Wine also argues that the emotional component has little

debilitating effect unless the autonomic arousal is so extreme that it

is, in itself, attentionally distracting.

A recent focus in test anxiety research is on the influence of

models (I. Sarason, 1973, 1975; I. Sarason, Pederson, & Nyman, 1968).

In the 1968 study, results indicated that the performance of test

anxious students was facilitated in a laboratory learning task by the

opportunity to observe a successful model. In the 1973 experiment,

one condition consisted of a model performing an anagram solving task

while verbalizing the thinking process involved, including some under-

lying principles of problem solving. High test anxious students solved

more problems under these circumstances than did low anxious ones.

In his 1975 experiment, Sarason has added the element of self-

disclosure to the modeling variable in a laboratory learning task.

A model, under one condition, presents herself as a high test anxious

person who worries about being evaluated, especially by authority figures.

She discusses ways she has learned to cope with this, e.g.

(a) reminding yourself periodically to stop thinking
about yourself and to concentrate on the task at hand;
(b) thinking about aspects of the task that might be

especially interesting to you; (c) not allowing your-
self to get flustered by errors and difficult items,
but to keep working on the task at a steady pace;
(d) forcing yourself not to think about other people
and how they will or might perform the task. (p. 150)

Other experimental conditions involved a non-coping model, a low anxious

one, a neutral one (who talked about campus events), and no model. The

mean of correct responses on the learning task for the high anxious

students who were in the anxious coping model's group was significantly

higher than for those under any of the other conditions, and higher than

the means for the low anxious students under all of the conditions.

In his introduction to this article, Sarason writes that "the

experiment represents a confluence of lines of research in the areas of

test anxiety, modeling, and self-disclosure" (p. 148). More generally,

it also represents a bringing together of the results of work in the

two fields of applied and basic research.

Career Salience

Zytowski (1970) defines career salience as follows:

The degree to which the person derives his life's
satisfactions from work, as opposed to non-work
sources. The person whose whole life is bound
up in his occupation, who makes no distinction
between them, would be understood to be very high
on career saliency, while the person who works
only to be able to avail himself of the satisfac-
tions found away from the job would be low on this
variable. (p. 16)

This description is neutral in tone. No value judgment is placed on the

quality; it is simply cited as a variable which is one of the components

of vocational development. In general, however, the emphasis has been

that career salience is a characteristic to be developed or increased.


Kuhlen and Dipboye (1959), apparently the first investigators of career

salience as a defined construct, gave the following purpose for their


A part of the motivation for undertaking the study
grew out of the assumption that efforts to attract
people into occupations, such as teaching, where
critical personnel shortages exist, will be success-
ful to the degree that such efforts reflect an aware-
ness of the motivational and personality factors that
predispose to the selection of those occupations.
(p. 1)

In this study career salience (high, medium, and low) was determined by

judges in one hour structured interviews. It was found, as predicted,

that women and men selecting teaching as a career were lower in career

salience than were students planning to enter other occupations. In

their concluding comments, Kuhlen and Dipboye suggest ways of changing

the teaching profession in order to attract those "psychologically

vigorous individuals who are interested in a career and in personal

achievement as well as in such intrinsic satisfactions as derived from

helping others" (p. 121).

Masih (1969), also using the interview technique of assessment,

found that men who had chosen teaching as a career were significantly

lower in career salience than men planning other careers. He did not

find the same results in the female sample. Among the small proportion

who were classed as career salient (23 out of 118), significantly more

were prospective teachers than non-teachers. Masih's concern with his

findings was the low career salience among the men.

If the finding holds true for the profession of teaching
in general, as it did with the prospective teachers, it
certainly strikes a pessimistic note. A profession can-
not experience efficient growth when it possibly has in its

folds a large number of individuals who attribute
only a secondary importance to their professions.
(p. 775)

Greenhaus (1971), in his investigation of the role of career

salience in vocational behavior, reviews several studies concerned

with attitudes toward work, and appears more neutral than the previously

mentioned writers in his attitude toward career salience. In other

words, he sees it as an individual difference in the perception of

the importance of work and career rather than an assumed highly desir-

able quality. His attitude is consistent with the recent trend of

questioning some of the basic assumptions about the importance of work

(e.g. Osipow, 1969; Warnath, 1975). Tolbert (1974), for example, states

that "work may not be central to the value systems of all individuals,

though all theories assume it to be" (p. 29).

Greenhaus also sees career salience in a more complex way than do

some other writers.

Career salience may have different meanings to different
people. An intense interest in performing well in a
career, the need for power, money, or advancement, and
the desire to escape an unhappy homelife may all contri-
bute (singly or in combination) to one's attitude toward
work. (p. 215)

Greenhaus uses in his studies a 28-item questionnaire developed by

himself (1971). This instrument includes items related to three aspects

of career salience: (1) the relative priority of a career (e.g. "I

intend to pursue the job of my choice, even if it allows only very little

opportunity to enjoy my friends"); (2) general attitudes toward work

(e.g. "Work is one of those necessary evils"); and (3) career advance-

ment and planning (e.g. "Planning for a specific career is usually not

worth the effort"). This concept of career salience differs slightly

from those definitions expressed by Kuylen and Dipboye (1959), Masih

(1967, 1969), and Zytowski (1970) who do not explicitly mention planning

or attitude toward work as components.

Angrist (1972) confines her studies of career salience to college

women only, defining the concept as "the desire to pursue a career

during various stages of childrearing regardless of financial need"

(p. 88). The items in her measure of career salience, the Life Style

Index, are written specifically for women, e.g. "Fifteen years from now,

would you like to be: A housewife with no children ." In her

longitudinal study of college women, her choice of words convert to and

defector from career salience suggests a definite value judgment. Cooper

(1976) uses Angrist's Life Style Index in a study to determine the effec-

tiveness of different treatments to increase career salience among

college women.

Correlates of Career Salience

Kuhlen and Dipboye (1959) were primarily concerned with occupational

choice and found, as predicted, that education students were lower in

career salience than were students in other fields. Masih (1969)

reports similar results for men but not for women. Women, however,

were comparatively lower than men in career salience in both the teaching

and the non-teaching groups.

In another study, Masih (1967) focused on needs, interests, and

job values related to career salience among upper division students.

As measured by the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule, high career


salient men were found to be lower on the Heterosexuality scale and

higher on Endurance; the opposite was true for low career salient men.

Both groups were similar in need for Achievement. Concerning job

values, both groups showed a desire for prestige. The high career

salient women were high on needs for Achievement and Endurance but did

not differ significantly from the low career salient group on the

Heterosexuality scale. Regarding job values, the high career salient

women were more interested in fame and less in prestige than were the

low salient group. In this study, students were categorized as high,

medium, and low career salient by three judges in structured interviews.

In the opinion of the judges, the high career salient women were as

highly career motivated as the high career salient men. The proportion

of women in the high career salient group was, to a highly significant

degree, lower than that of men, and Masih concludes that "it would

appear that high Career Saliency is a typical male pattern" (p. 658).

A study by Greenhaus (1971) supports Masih's finding regarding

high career salience as more typical of males. However, the gap between

nen and women on this variable appears smaller in the Greenhaus study.

Greenhaus found means (as measured by his own questionnaire) of 90.78

for 104 males and 87.89 for 273 females. This difference was reported

as significant at the .05 level. Masih's judges, on the other hand,

reported 51 men out of 68 as high career salient, and only 23 out of

118 women as high career salient. It is impossible, of course, to

quantify the difference in proportions of high career salient men and

women in the two studies given the differences in research instruments,

settings, and samples. Greenhaus reports the following personality corre-

lates of career salience for both men and women: desire for prestige,

educational aspiration, occupational satisfaction, self-rated effort,

ambition, scholarship, and persuasiveness. These attributes were ob-

tained from a self-rating of personal traits and the findings are par-

tially consistent with those of Masih's on prestige and achievement.

In his 1973 article, Greenhaus found a significant relationship (p < .01)

between career salience and choice of ideal occupation (as determined

by exact match between the student's perceived ideal choice and his or

her stated choice).

Almquist and Angrist (1970) found high career salience in college

women strongly related to atypicality of occupational choice. An occu-

pational choice was considered atypical if fewer than one-third of the

workers in it were women. They also investigated familial and social

correlates and the work history of high and low career salient students

and describe two hypotheses concerning their results: deviance and

enrichment. The deviance hypothesis explains career salience as a

result of social learning experiences which direct a girl toward an

unconventional masculine self-image. The enrichment hypothesis states

that more varied experiences in a girl's life lead her to a less conven-

tional view of her adult role, with work as an additional important

feature in her life rather than a compensatory one. Their study, which

examines amount and variety of students' past and present part-time work

experience and the influence of occupational role models, supports the

enrichment hypothesis. Sedney and Turner (1975) also find the enrichment

hypothesis more tenable in their study of women's career orientation,

a concept closely related to but not identical with career salience.

Erickson and Nordin (1974) focus principally on the role of mothers

of career salient college freshmen women, their mothers' work experience

and feelings about their employment. Of interest to this review is the

finding that a much larger percentage than expected--42% of the 248

freshmen women studied--gave what were scored as career salient responses

on Angrist's Life Style Index (1972).

Despite the limited number of studies of career salience, the

variety of research instruments, and some differences in value judgments

and definitions, one trend can be inferred: the gap between the degree

of career salience in men and women is narrowing. This conclusion is

supported by recent reports on attitudes toward success and achievement,

concepts closely related to career salience. Beery (1976) writes

Among the students I counsel, the vast majority of the
women are strongly career-oriented already and many of
the men are beginning legitimately to question society's
success expectations Attitudes toward success
among college students today are far more complex than
traditional sex-role stereotypes would suggest. (p. 500)

In her historical review of the changing career woman, Helson (1972)

argues that "young women have apparently been sold on the desirability

of planning for marriage and work, and interest in a career can no

longer be attributed to a tiny, deviant minority" (p. 37).

It must be emphasized, however, that career orientation is not

synonymous with career salience. It would be rare for a woman--or a

man--to be career salient and not career oriented (though possible if

the person is still in the fantasy stage of career development), but


students can be planning on and seriously interested in a career and yet

not necessarily be considered highly career salient--their intended career

may or may not rank high in their value systems.

Occupational Choice: Interests, Decidedness,

Narrowness of Choice

Occupational Interests

Holland's theory (1958) of vocational choice as an extension of

personality provides a useful model to test the hypothesis that test

anxiety is too idiosyncratic to be related either to a particular academic

field or to a particular personality type. The literature suggests that

test anxiety develops from a complex number of factors, singly or in

combination, such as a learned phobic reaction, motivational conflict,

self-deprecatory feelings, and an introspective cognitive style. Career

salience, on the other hand, although it is equally or more complex, is

not as likely as test anxiety to be the result of past trauma. Some of

the personality correlates of career salience reported in the previous

section of this chapter may add up to a pattern which will correlate with

one of Holland's six occupational types. The six types are used princi-

pally in the Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) and the Self-Directed

Search (Holland, 1973); they are also incorporated into the interpretation

of the Strong Campbell Interest Inventory.

The investigative type is predicted to be correlated with career

salience. Holland's (1975) clinical interpretation of high scorers on

this scale is as follows:

High scorers are concerned with science, mathematics, and
theory. Prefer to "think through" problems rather than
"act out" problems. Value science and aesthetic activi-
ties. Tend to be bright, scholarly, and persistent.
Have high educational aspirations. (p. 10)

Holland also reports a moderate correlation between the Investigative

type and need for achievement as measured by the Edwards Personal

Preference Schedule (Holland, 1975, p. 26). Many of these personality

correlates (as described by Holland) are also those reported by Greenhaus

(1971) as correlates of career salience: e.g. self-rated effort, ambi-

tion, scholarship, and educational aspiration.

Decidedness of Career Choice

The literature in this area suggests a variety of attitudes toward

undecided students, of definitions and measurement of undecidedness,

and of characteristics of students in different stages of decision.

Ashby, Wall, and Osipow (1966) have investigated vocational certainty

and indecision among college freshmen using several measures including

students's self-descriptions according to Holland's types. Those who

were relatively certain about their career plans tended to be students

who described themselves as similar to the Intellectual (Investigative)

and to the Artistic types.

Baird (1960) reviewed studies concerning undecided students and

stated that "although the evidence is sparse, it suggests that the

undecided student differs little from other students" (p. 430). In his

study, Baird found no significant difference between the undecided stu-

dent and the decided ones in academic aptitude. Baird concludes that

There is no evidence to support the notion that most
undecided students are maladjusted or abnormal.
The freshman whose only problem is a lack of

vocational decision can probably be helped to reach
a decision, but he should be told that to be undecided
about his career is not only common but may even be
beneficial. (p. 433)

Lunneborg (1976) found that "undecideds had a significantly lower

grade point average than decided and were far less satisfied

with their university experience" (p. 402). In her discussion of these

results, Lunneborg suggests that counselors may either continue to accept

that a vocational choice in college is desirable and help students work

toward one, or they may "accept that such a vocational choice is outmoded

and help students to benefit from the university experience in ways not

tied to work as Warnath (1975) urges" (p. 404).

Osipow, Carney, and Barak have recently (1976) developed a 19-item

questionnaire as a measure of vocational indecision. This may lead to

further research and clarification on this topic.

There appears to be nothing in the literature relating decidedness

with test anxiety. Kimes and Troth (1974) have found that completely

undecided students are higher in trait anxiety as measured by the State-

Trait Anxiety Inventory. In their discussion, they imply no causal direc-

tion; they suggest that "it seems logical to assume that the individual

must learn to cope with his anxiety before he can make effective career

decisions" (p. 280).

Possibly, an undecided student prone to trait anxiety tries to allevi-

ate anxiety by impulsively coming to a career decision, thus creating some

order out of chaos. A threat, such as a test, to this new found security,

can lead to a more specific anxiety over tests.

Narrowness of Choice

This construct, as such, has received little attention in the

literature except through the positive connotation of commitment (e.g.

Hershenson, 1968). What might be seen as an opposite pole from narrow-

ness, flexibility, has been studied, however, in connection with career

choice. In a study relating the trait of flexibility (as measured by

the flexibility scale of the California Psychological Inventory) to

college majors, Sherrick, Davenport, and Colina (1971) found that social

science students were more flexible than were students in the natural


In the present study, narrowness of career choice is defined as the

relative lack of openness toward alternate career options. It will be

measured by the Acquiescence (Ac) Scale of Holland's VPI. The primary

function of this scale is to detect unusual response patterns. It is

also used in clinical interpretation described in the VPI Manual (1975)

as follows:

Subjects who prefer many occupations are expressing a
sociable, cheerful, active, frank, and conventional
outlook about the vocational world, whereas subjects
who like only a few occupations are expressing an
unsociable, depressive, and unconventional outlook.
Many preferences are also associated with self-
confidence; few preferences are associated with
self-deprecation. Extremely high Ac scores are
associated with poor judgment and lack of personal
integration. (p. 13)

Haakenstad and Apostal (1971) found that "high-acquiescent subjects

manifest an interest in 'extrovert' activities to a greater extent than

do low-acquiescent subjects" (p. 501). In an earlier study, using the


number of like and dislike responses on the Strong Vocational Interest

Blank, Berdie (1943) found some small correlations indicating that

The person who likes more items tends to be a better
student both in high school and college. He
tends to be more social and to have more social skills
and tends to have better morale. The person who
dislikes many items tends to be a poorer student, has
less ability, and has a less satisfactory social adjust-
ment and morale. (pp. 182-183)

The hypothetical profile of the low-acquiescent person, inferred

from these studies, appears to be consistent with many of the character-

istics of the test anxious person as described in the literature reviewed

earlier in this chapter.


The main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship

between test anxiety and career salience. Also investigated were the

occupational types, the degree of decidedness about career plans, and

flexibility of career choice of high test anxious college students.

A third question was:is there a difference in the proportion of males

and females among high test anxious students as compared to that of low

test anxious students? Another question was: are women as career salient

as men? And finally, are high career salient students more frequently

of Holland's Investigative type than are low career salient students?

Subjects for this study were University of Florida students who either

sought the services of its Reading and Study Skills Center or enrolled

in a course entitled "Applied Techniques in Reading and Study Skills."

A more precise description of the selection of subjects will follow

a description of the Reading Center and of the Reading and Study Skills


The Setting
The Reading and Study Skills Center

At the time this study took place the Center offered help in improving

reading rate and comprehension and in developing study skills--including

test taking strategies. The Center also offered individual and group

counseling for students with text anxiety. Participation in the Center's

program was voluntary. Although students were referred by instructors

and advisors, it was extremely rare that attendance was a condition for

a grade. No credit was given for attendance or performance.

Procedure. Each program was individually planned by a counselor

in conference with a student on the basis of results of a reading test

and the student's own goals. Counselors were either members of the

permanent staff with doctorates in counseling or reading, or were super-

vised graduate students, usually in Counselor Education. Students were

able to begin or end their programs at the Center at any time during the

quarter; a few students returned for more than one quarter. Upon appli-

cation at the Center, each student was asked by the receptionist to com-

plete a Personal Data Form (Appendix A), and during the time this study

took place, the Mandler-Sarason Test Anxiety Scale (TAS, see Appendix B).

The TAS, a 37-item true-false questionnaire takes about six minutes to

complete and was added to the application procedure at the beginning of

the 1976 academic year to determine whether a need existed for an expanded

program in test anxiety. Among questions on the Personal Data Form of

interest to this study are

(A) Career Plans (Check one of the following)

1. I am completely undecided.

2. I have a rather general but not specific idea
of my career choice.

3. I am fairly certain of my specific career choice.

4. I am certain of my career choice.

and, later in the form

(B) I would like some help in controlling anxiety about
tests: Yes No

Description of students. Students using the Center represented

a large variety of college students. About half were freshmen and the

remaining half were fairly evenly distributed among sophomores, juniors,

seniors, and graduate students. In academic ability, the students seemed

fairly well divided among poor, average, and excellent. Formerly, approxi-

mately 250 students attended the Center each quarter. At the time of this

study, however, because of funding problems, the Center had to limit stu-

dents to approximately 150 per quarter.

The Center was chosen as a setting for this study for several reasons.

First, it was a convenient source of cooperative, voluntary subjects who

were under no constraint to participate in this study. Second, data from

the TAS scores, self-reported decidedness of career choice, and need for

help in reducing test anxiety were being routinely gathered and recorded.

Third, students with high test anxiety were likely to come to the Center

either for direct help with their problem or indirect help by seeking to

improve academic skills. Finally, many recent studies suggest that test

anxiety is more frequently reduced when the treatment includes study

skills counseling (Allen, 1973) thus making a setting such as the Center

a logical place both for conducting research on the problem and for

developing more effective treatment programs.

The Reading and Study Skills Course

The course description follows:

Instruction in reading and study skills will be offered
on both an individual and group basis. Diagnostic
tests, evaluation of skill levels and reading-study
techniques will be considered. Class experiences will
include lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and
laboratory work. Topics include: reading rate and
comprehension, vocabulary, note-taking, marking a text,
time-use, concentration techniques, test anxiety, etc.
Direct application of skills to coursework will be
stressed. Intended for both successful students
desiring to sharpen already adequate skills as well
as those with identifiable problems. Enrollment
limited to fifteen students with grading on a pass/
fail basis.

This course, as may be seen from the description, is organized in the

same way as was the Reading Center's regular program except that it is

slightly more structured. It attracts the same type of student as did

the Center. It is, of course, not unlikely that a few students register

for the course primarily because it is pass/fail and fits their schedule.

This, however, was not expected to be a significantly confounding problem

in establishing the sample. Course students completed the Personal Data

Form and the TAS as part of class routine. The total number of enrolled

students was approximately 40.

The Sample

Students whose TAS score was 21 or above and who checked "Yes" to

the Personal Data Form Statement: "I would like some help in controlling

anxiety about tests" were designated high test anxious (HA) for purposes

of this study. Those students whose TAS score fell at or below 13 and

who checked "No" or left blank the statement regarding test anxiety were

designated low test anxious (LA). The scores 0-13 and 21-31 correspond

to the lower and upper thirds respectively of the distribution of 60 TAS

scores analyzed previously in a preliminary study at the Reading Center.

Collection of Data

Thirty names each of HA and LA students were randomly selected from

a combined list of students registered at the Center and in the Study

Skills course. Those students who were in the Center's program were con-

tacted by a counselor and asked to participate in the study. Those stu-

dents in the Study Skills course were contacted by their instructor, an

advanced doctoral student in Counselor Education. The request was made

approximately as follows: "If you can spare the time, would you mind

filling out these two questionnaires. One of our research assistants

(or "I am .") is working on a study of values and vocational

interests." Every effort was made to avoid any social or academic pres-

sure to participate, and the students were assured that the results would

be confidential. They were also told a report of the results would be

available later. (For Consent Form, see Appendix C.)

The two instruments were the Ranked List of Life Values (RLLV, Appen-

dix D) and Holland's Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI: Holland, 1973,

p. 108-109). If a student did not want to participate or had dropped the

program or course, another name from the list was drawn until 30 sets of

data were collected for each of the two groups, HA and LA. Data collec-

tion took place primarily in the Winter quarter of 1977 and extended

partly into the Spring quarter.

The Instruments

The Mandler-Sarason Test Anxiety Scale (TAS)

This instrument consists of 37 true-false items (Appendix B). It

has been published in a paper by Sarason (1972) with a note that it may

be used by researchers without the permission of the author or publisher

(p. 384). It was also noted that this version is an expansion of a

21-item instrument used earlier (Sarason, 1958a). The shorter form of

the TAS was developed from the college form of the Test Anxiety Question-

naire (TAQ), a 39-item rating scale format. Mandler and Cowen (1958)

report a test-retest reliability of the TAQ of .91 (N=70) and a split-

half reliability of .91 (N=100).

Stability over time for items on the TAS may be inferred from a study

by Osipow and Kreinbring (1971). These investigators tested an instru-

ment developed by Osterhouse (1969) which was composed of items selected

from the TAS, from Alpert and Haber's (1960) instrument, and from a test

developed by Spiegler, Morris, and Liebert (1968). Osipow and Kreinbring

adapted Osterhouse's test to a true-false format and administered it

twice, 10 days apart, to five different groups of students at different

times throughout an academic quarter. Eight of the items on this compos-

ite instrument related to emotionality, nine to cognitive concern, and

four were unscored fillers.

The results suggest, first, that the test anxiety scale,
both the worry and the emotionality components, is
stable over at least a 10-week period and, second, that
this stability is not disrupted by the situational in-
put of variations and examinations stress. (Osipow &
Kreinbring, 1971, p. 153)


In order to determine reliability and validity of the 37-item

TAS for the sample being investigated in this study, a random sample

of 30 students at the Reading Center was tested and retested after

a period varying from 2 to 4 weeks; a product-moment correlation of

.85 was obtained. Construct validity of the instrument--particularly

in a counseling context--may be inferred from the fact that, of 60

students given the TAS (in a preliminary study to establish local norms),

all of the high scoring 20 checked Yes to the Personal Data Form state-

ment "I would like some help in controlling anxiety about tests";

whereas, of the low scoring 20 students, only one checked Yes.

In this preliminary study of 60 Reading Center students, the mean

score was 17.5 with a standard deviation of 7.0 and a range of 0-31.

The upper third of the distribution included the scores 21 through 31;

the lower third, 0 through 13.

The Ranked List of Life Values

There have been three research instruments reported for the measure-

ment of career salience. Kuhlen and Dipboye (1959) and Masih (1967) have

used hour-long interviews with judges who rated the subjects into cate-

gories of high, medium, and low career salience according to their re-

sponses to open-ended questions about their career and life plans.

Greenhaus (1971) developed a 28-item questionnaire with a 5-point Likert-

type scale for the first 27 questions and a ranking method of response

for the 28th. The items in the Greenhaus instrument consist of three

general types according to whether they relate to (a) relative impor-

tance of a career, (b) planning and thinking, and (c) general attitudes

toward work. All items refer directly and obviously to "work," "job,"

or "career," e.g. "I intend to pursue the job of my choice, even if it

leaves me little time for my religious activities." A third instrument

currently used, Angrist's Life Style Index (1972) can be used only with


The interview technique is cumbersome and expensive, and Angrist's

instrument is limited to use with women. Greenhaus' questionnaire is

useful, but it was decided that a more indirectly worded instrument

would yield less biased and self-conscious answers. In addition, only

the relative-importance-of-career component is of interest to this study.

For these reasons, the writer decided to develop a different instrument

in which career would be simply ranked as one life value among many.

This instrument (Appendix D), the Ranked List of Life Values (RLLV) is

similar to the Rokeach Value Survey (1973) except that it contains 10

items instead of 18, and the items consist of statements instead of

single words.

Development of the RLLV. The items on the RLLV were intuitively

developed and then informally field tested with approximately 80 people;

half were students in a community college class, and the remainder were

interviewed either in small groups or individually. Each person was

asked for suggestions and reactions; items were then added, deleted, and

altered, accordingly, until the present form was established.

Reliability. To determine temporal reliability, the RLLV was admin-

istered to 60 students in an undergraduate psychology class on two occa-

sions 3 weeks apart. A Spearman rho rank correlation was calculated for

each person's pair of ranked lists. The median of these correlations is

.85. The frequency of the correlations is shown in Table 1.

Table 1

RLLV Test-Retest, Frequency of Rank Correlations


Rank Correlationa Frequency

.01- .10 2
.11- .20 0
.21- .30 1
.31- .40 1
.41- .50 4
.51- .60 5
.61- .70 3
.71- .80 7
.81- .90 22
.91-1.00 15

a Spearman rho rank correlation.

Table 2 indicates the test-retest Pearson correlation for each item.

The range of .51 to .80 compares favorably with the item correlations

obtained by Rokeach on Form D of .51 to .88 for terminal values and .45

to .70 for instrumental values (1973, p. 38). For the frequency distri-

bution of rankings for each value item on the first administration of

the RLLV, see Appendix E.

Validity. Construct validity was estimated by using the known-group

method (Shaw, 1967, p. 19). The RLLV was administered to three groups

expected to rank career at different levels of a value system. Kuhlen and

Dipboye (1959) found prospective elementary school teachers to be lower in

Career salience than students choosing other fields; Masih (1969) found


Table 2

Test-Retest Reliabilities of RLLV


Item Pearson r

A health .70

B marriage ..73

C money .69

D travel .64

E career .69

F friends .52

G children .67

H .talent .51

I spiritual life .80

J leisure .59

Note: All correlations significant at .001 level.

this true particularly of women education students. Therefore, a group

of female students in the Childhood Education Program was chosen to repre-

sent a group predicted to be relatively low in career salience. Students

are randomly assigned to sections, and three sections were tested with

a total number of 31 women. For comparison, female law school students

were expected to rank career higher and Mormon Church women were expected

to rank it lower than the education group. (One of the tenets of the

Mormon Church is that women should not work during child rearing years

unless there is financial necessity.) The RLLV was given to 23 women

law students attending a review class and to 20 randomly selected members

of a Mormon Church group composed of both students and non-students. The

results are shown in Table 3.

Table 3

Range, Mean, and Standard Deviation of Rank of Item E

(Career) on the RLLV for Three Sample Groups

Group Range M SD
1. Law Students 1- 8 3.22 2.07 23

2. Education Students 1- 9 4.81 1.85 31

3. Mormon Church Women 6-10 6.40 2.46 20

Note. Lower number denotes higher rank of career value.

A one way analysis of variance using the Student-Newman-Keuls proce-

dure indicated that there are significant differences in the ranks assigned

to "career" among the three groups.

The Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI)

The VPI measures personality types as an extension of vocational

interests according to the number of Yes responses to a list of occupa-

tional titles which interest or appeal to the test taker. Interest scales

are scored according to each of Holland's six personality types: Realis-

tic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

The VPI was developed by Holland (1958) and has been revised several

times. The form used in this study was the sixth revision, consisting

of 160 occupational titles scored according to the six interest scales

and, also, five additional scales: Self-Control, Masculinity, Status,

Infrequency, and Acquiescence.

Only the six interest scales and the Acquiescence Scale (Ac Scale)

were used in this study. The Ac Scale measures the tendency of the test

taker to "like" occupations by counting the number of "Yes" responses

for items 1-30, and was used in this study as an indication of relative

breadth of occupational interest. A person scoring low on the Ac Scale

is presumed to be relatively narrow regarding career choice.

Reliability. Internal consistency coefficients (Kuder-Richardson 20)

for the six interest scales range from .83 to .89 for 6,289 college men

and .76 to .88 for 6,143 college women. A correlation of .76 is reported

for the Ac Scale on both male and female samples. Test-retest stability

is reported to range from .61 to .86 on the interest scales, and is .93

for the Ac Scale (Holland, 1975, p. 8).

Validity. Regarding construct validity of the six interest scales,

Holland (1975) states the following:

Making Vocational Choices (Holland, 1973) summarizes more
than 100 empirical studies about the characteristics attri-
buted to the first six VPI scales, or to people categorized
as one of the six types. More than 90 of these investiga-
tions are believed to yield positive evidence. (p. 19)

Regarding the Ac Scale, Holland (1975) reports that it

provides an estimate of the subject's tendency to
respond "Like" or "Yes." It is scored by counting the
number of "Yes" responses for items 1-30. The first 30
items are believed to provide a useful estimate of the
tendency to say "Yes." In the third revision, "liking"
items 1-30 correlated .74 with "liking" items 31-300 for
boys, and .69 for girls (N's = 100). In the sixth revi-
sion, the number of preferred items among the first
thirty items correlates .43 to .51 with scales consisting
only of items keyed "Yes." (p. 18)

Hypotheses and Analysis of Data

The following hypotheses were generated from the research questions

asked in Chapter I (pp. 11-12). Stated in null form, Hypothesis 1: There

is no difference in the degree of career salience between HA and LA stu-


The degree of career salience was measured by the rank assigned to

Item E on the RLLV. This rank is assumed to have the properties of a

normally distributed score. The t-test to determine a significant differ-

ence between two sample means was used to test the hypothesis, (p < .05).

Hypothesis 2. There is no difference in the narrowness of choice between

HA and LA students.

Narrowness of choice was measured by the Acquiescence Scale (Ac Scale),

i.e. the number of "Yes" responses checked on the first 30 occupational


titles of the VPI. The t-test to determine a significant difference

between two sample means was used to test the hypothesis, (p < .05).

Hypothesis 3. There is no difference in the decidedness of career choice

between HA and LA students.

Decidedness of career choice was determined by whether or not a

student checked "I am certain of my career choice" on the Personal Data

Form. The chi square test for two independent samples was used to

determine a significant difference at the p < .05 level.

Hypothesis 4. There are no relationships between any of Holland's six

occupational types and HA and LA students.

Raw scores on each of the six occupational scales of the VPI were

used to measure occupational type. T-tests were used to determine

whether or not a significant difference exists between the means of HA

and LA students on each of the six scales.

Hypothesis 5. There is no difference in the frequency of men and women

found in the HA and LA groups.

The chi square test for two independent samples was used to deter-

mine a significant difference at the p < .05 level.

The following two hypotheses relate to predicted characteristics

of career salience. Because of the growing trend toward a greater career

orientation among women, it was hypothesized that among students at the

Reading Center, women would be as career salient as men. Stated in the

form of a null hypothesis:

Hypothesis 6. There is no difference in the degree of career salience

between male and female students.

The t-test to determine the difference between two sample means was

used to test the hypothesis at the p < .05 level.

Finally, because career salience has been reported to be correlated

with self-rated effort, ambition, scholarship, and educational aspiration

(Greenhaus, 1971) and these qualities are also among the characteristics

of the Investigative type, it was predicted that there is a significant

relationship between career salience and Holland's Investigative type.

There appeared, however, to be no reason to predict a relationship with

any of the other five types. Stated, then, in the form of a null hypo-


Hypothesis 7. There is no correlation between career salience and any

of Holland's six occupational types.

Career salience is measured by the number, from 1 to 10, assigned

to Item E on the RLLV. Holland's occupational types (Realistic, Inves-

tigative, Social, Conventional, Enterprising, and Artistic) are measured

by their scales on the VPI with scores ranging from 0 to 14. The Pearson

r was used to test this hypothesis at the p < .05 level for each of the

six scales.


The results of this study cannot necessarily be applied to other

university populations because of differences, for example, in orienta-

tion toward academic achievement and in attitudes toward the function of

higher education. Furthermore, because of fluctuating economic and cul-

tural conditions, these are years of rapidly changing attitudes toward

work, in general, and toward different career fields, in particular.

These changes are affecting students irrespective of sex; in addition,

other cultural forces are affecting men and women in different ways.

For these reasons, interpretation of results must take into account

the limits of both time and place.

More specifically, although the Reading Center served a wide variety

of students and therefore provided a good cross section of the college

population for the sample, approximately half of its usual enrollment

were Freshmen. And although students at the Center represented a broad

spectrum of academic ability and motivation, it can be assumed that it

did not include students completely apathetic toward academic success.

Follow-up of Subjects

As soon as possible, each VPI was scored and plotted on the male or

female profile chart provided with the instrument. The profiles indicate

a student's percentile rank based on national Freshmen norms. For pur-

poses of interpretation, each student's occupational type was determined

by the highest score on the profile. Each student received a cover

letter (Appendix F) attached to a description of Holland's six occupa-

tional types with his or her high point type indicated. In the case of

ties or near ties, this was also noted. Those students requesting a more

extensive interpretation were seen individually by the principal investi-

gator or another counselor.



Following a brief description of the sample, the results of the

data analyses will be presented for each hypothesis. The results will

then be summarized. Finally, additional findings will be presented.

Description of the Sample

All students in the sample were undergraduates. With the exception

of one student who was 38, the age range was 18-24. The mean age was 19.8

and the modal age was 18. Of the total number of 60 students, 28 were

women and 32 were men.

Analysis of Data

In the analyses that follow, HA and LA refer to high test anxious

and low test anxious students respectively. Career Salience (CS) is

determined by the rank assigned to the career item on the Ranked List of

Life Values (RLLV). Ranks range from 1-10 with 1 as the highest value.

Narrowness of choice is measured by the Acquiescence Scale (Ac Scale)

of the Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI). Possible scores range

from 0 to 30.

Hypothesis 1. There is no difference in the degree of career salience

between HA and LA students.

This hypothesis was tested by a t-test for a significant difference

between two sample means at the .05 level of confidence. The results are

shown in Table 4.

Table 4

T-Test Comparison of Rank of Career Item and

Low and High Test Anxious Students

Group N Mean s.d. t d.f.

Low Anxious 30 4.40 2.34 -0.58* 58

High Anxious 30 4.73 2.13

Note. Lower number denotes higher ranking of value
Not significant at the .05 level.

The hypothesis is retained. The data indicate that no significant

difference exists. Although a conclusion that no difference exists must

always be a tentative one, a comparison of the means, standard deviations,

and frequency distributions indicate close similarity of career salience

between HA and LA students as measured by these particular instruments.

The frequency distributions are presented in Table 5.

Table 5

Frequency Distribution of Ranks for Career Item on the

RLLV for Low and High Test Anxious Students


Group 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Low Anxious 4 3 6 4 1 4 5 3 0 0 N=30

High Anxious 3 1 5 5 4 6 3 2 1 0 N=30

Note. Lower number denotes higher ranking of value.


The frequency distributions show a wide range for both groups. Both

distributions appear relatively flat and slightly bimodal. The frequency

distributions for all ten value items for these 60 students are given in

Appendix G.

Hypothesis 2. There is no difference in the narrowness of choice between

HA and LA students.

This hypothesis was tested by a t-test for a significant difference

between two sample means at the .05 level of confidence. The results are

shown in Table 6.

Table 6

T-Test Comparison of VPI Ac Scale Score

and Low and High Anxious Students

Group N Mean s.d. t d.f.

Low Anxious 30 8.87 4.26 -1.97* 58

High Anxious 30 10.90 3.72

* Significant at the .05 level

The hypothesis is rejected. There is a significant difference

between two sample means. It should be emphasized, however, that the t

value is in the opposite direction to that predicted.

Hypothesis 3. There is no difference in the decidedness of career choice

between HA and LA students.

Students who checked "I am certain of my career choice." on the

Personal Data Form (Appendix A) were designated decided. Those stu-

dents who checked any of the other three statements concerning career

plans were designated non-decided. The chi square test for two inde-

pendent samples was used to test this hypothesis at the .05 level of

significance. The results are presented in Table 7.

Table 7

Chi Square Analysis of Decidedness of Career Choice

by High and Low Test Anxious Students

Low Test High Test Row
Anxious Anxious Total

Decided 8 10 18

Non-decided 22 20 42

Column Total 30 30 60

Chi Square = .079 d.f. = 1

The hypothesis is retained. The data indicate that there is no difference

in decidedness between LA and HA students. This indication must be con-

sidered cautiously, however, not only because of the problem of proving

the absence of relationship but also because decidedness, in this study,

is measured simply by responses on a questionnaire.

Hypothesis 4. There are no relationships between any of Holland's six

occupational types and HA and LA students.

This hypothesis was tested by six t-tests for significant differ-

ences between two sample means. The results are shown in Table 8.

Table 8

T-Test Comparisons of Holland's Six Occupational Types

and Low and High Test Anxious Students

Type N Mean s.d. t* d.f.


LA 30 1.87 1.70 -1.00 58
HA 30 2.40 2.39


LA 30 3.93 4.54 -1.33 58
HA 30 5.43 4.17


LA 30 4.83 3.58 -0.74 58
HA 30 5.53 3.71


LA 30 1.67 2.66 -1.38 58
HA 30 2.67 2.95


LA 30 3.60 3.92 -0.80 58
HA 30 4.40 3.80


LA 30 4.70 4.19 -1.01 58
HA 30 5.83 4.52

* None is significant at the .05 level.

The hypothesis is retained. According to this analysis of the data,

there are no relationships between test anxiety and any of Holland's

occupational types. It will be noted that the means for the LA group

are all lower than those of the HA group; this can be assumed to be a

function of the lower Ac Scale scores of the LA students.

Hypothesis 5. There is no difference in the frequency of men and women

found in the LA and the HA groups. The chi square test for two inde-

pendent samples was used to test this hypothesis at the .05 level of

significance. The results are presented in Table 9.

Table 9

Chi Square Analysis of Male and Female

Low and High Test Anxious Students

Low High Row Total

Female 13 15 28

Male 17 15 32

Column Total 30 30 60

Chi Square = .067 d.f. = 1

The hypothesis is retained. The data collected from these samples

suggest that women are as subject to test anxiety as are men.

Hypothesis 6. There is no difference in the degree of career salience

between male and female students.

This hypothesis was tested by a t-test for a significant difference

between two sample means at the .05 level of significance. The results

are presented in Table 10.

T-Test Comparison of Rank of





and Male and Female Students

Group N Mean s.d. t d.f.

Female 28 4.25 2.05 -1.03* 58

Male 32 4.84 2.37

Note. Lower number denotes higher rank

* Not significant at the .05 level.

of career value.

The hypothesis is retained. There appears, from these data, to be

no significant difference in career salience (as measured by the RLLV)

between male and female students. Of further interest are the frequency

distributions shown in Table 11.

Table 11

Frequency Distribution of Ranks for Career Item on the RLLV for Male and

Female Students, Reading Center Sample


Sex 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Female 3 3 6 3 3 6 3 1 0 0 N=28

Male 4 2 5 6 2 4 4 4 1 0 N=32

Note. Lower number denotes higher ranking of value.


A comparison of the means, standard deviations, and distributions

indicate a close similarity in the way men and women rank career as a

personal value in this particular sample. For a comparison of how these

students rank all ten values of the RLLV, see Appendix H.

Hypothesis 7. There is no correlation between career salience and any

of Holland's occupational types. The Pearson r was used to test this

hypothesis at the .05 level of significance. The results are presented

in Table 12.

Table 12

Pearson Correlation Coefficients between RLLV Rank of Career Item and

Holland's Occupational Types

Realistic .01

Investigative .02

Social .01

Conventional .19

Enterprising .03

Artistic -.07

Note. On the RLLV, lower numbers denote higher values. Therefore, corre-
lations are in the opposite direction to those in table.

Note. None is significant at the .05 level

The hypothesis is retained. There appears to be no correlation

between career salience, as measured by the RLLV, and any of Holland's

occupational types, as measured by raw scores. For correlations of all

RLLV values with the six VPI scales, see Appendix I which presents a

correlation matrix for the total sample and one for each sex.


Contrary to the prediction of the experimenter, the principal research

hypothesis that career salience is related to test anxiety was not sup-

ported by the data. Analysis of the data indicated that low test anxiety

is related to narrowness of choice, as measured by the VPI Ac Scale.

This finding is opposite to that predicted. Also contrary to prediction,

no relationship was found between test anxiety and decidedness of career


The data collected in this sample supported the predictions that

women are as subject to test anxiety as are men, and that women rank

career as a personal value as highly as do men. It was also found, as

predicted, that no significant relationship could be determined between

test anxiety and any of Holland's six occupational types.

It was predicted that a correlation would be found between career

salience and Holland's Investigative type, but would not be found for

the other five types. The data, however, indicated that there were no

significant correlations between career salience and any of the six types.

With the exception of the significant relationship found between

low test anxiety and narrowness of choice, none of the null hypotheses

was rejected. This was in some cases consistent with the experimenter's

prediction and in others not consistent. It should be stressed that,

regardless of prediction, findings concerning the absence of relation-

ships must be interpreted with more caution than can positive results.

Table 13

Means and Standard Deviations of VPI Scores of Low

and High Test Anxious Men and Women

Men Women

VPI Type Mean s.d. N Mean s.d. N


2.82 1.55 17
3.27 2.96 15




5.29 4.82 17
4.13 3.44 15

5.71 3.93 17
5.40 3.91 15


2.41 3.14 17
3.53 3.42 15


4.71 4.59 17
5.53 3.67 15

6.00 4.80 17
4.93 4.70 15













Table 14

Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Realistic Score by Sex and

High and Low Test Anxiety.

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value

Test Anxiety 1 6.595 6.595 1.942

Sex 1 57.615 57.615 16.962*

Interaction 1 .838 .838 .247

Within 56 190.214 3.397

Significant at .05 level.

Table 15

Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Investigative Score by Sex and

High and Low Test Anxiety.

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value

Test Anxiety 1 34.333 34.333 1.962

Sex 1 .888 .888 .051

Interaction 1 122.457 122.457 6.998*

Within 56 1136.979 17.498

* Significant at .05 level.

Table 16
Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Social Score by Sex and High

Low Test Anxiety.

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value*

Test Anxiety 1 8.570 8.570 .647

Sex 1 11.078 11.078 .837

Interaction 1 19.323 19.323 1.460

Within 56 741.228 13.236

None is significant at .05 level.

Table 17
Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Conventional Score by Sex and

High and Low Test Anxiety.

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value

Test Anxiety 1 18.568 18.568 2.518

Sex 1 44.312 44.312 6.008*

Interaction 1 .001 .001 .000

Within 56 413.017 7.375

* Significant at .05 level.

Table 18

Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Enterprising Score by Sex and

High and Low Test Anxiety.

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value

Test Anxiety 1 13.778 13.778 0.992

Sex 1 86.209 86.209 6.206*

Interaction 1 0.303 0.303 0.022

Within 56 777.884 13.891

Significant at .05 level.

Table 19

Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Artistic Score by Sex and High

and Low Test Anxiety.

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value

Test Anxiety 1 20.508 20.508 1.137

Sex 1 4.975 4.975 0.276

Interaction 1 85.625 85.625 4.748*

Within 56 1009.862 18.033

* Significant at .05 level.

Table 20

Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for Career Salience by

and Low Test Anxiety.

Sex and High

Source of Sum of Mean F

Variance d.f. Squares Square Value*

Test Anxiety 1 2.095 2.095 .419

Sex 1 5.693 5.693 1.138

Interaction 1 5.112 1.021 1.021

Within 56 280.260 5.005

None is significant at .05 level.

Table 21

Means and Standard Deviations of Rank of Career Item, RLLV, for Low and

High Test Anxious Men and Women.

Men Women

Group Mean s.d. N Mean s.d. N

LA 4.41 2.32 17 4.38 2.47 13

HA 5.33 2.41 15 4.13 1.68 15

Note. Lower number denotes higher ranking of value.

Table 22

Means and Standard Deviations of Acquiescence Scores for Low and High Test

Anxious Men and Women.

Men Women

Group Mean s.d. N Mean s.d. N

LA 10.65 4.53 17 6.54 2.47 13

HA 10.33 3.94 15 11.47 3.54 15

Additional Findings and Analyses

It was of interest to compare the mean Occupational Scale scores

with those reported for the normative sample (6290 college freshmen men

and 6143 women) in the VPI manual (Holland, 1975, p. 29). To do this,

it was necessary to compute the means and standard deviations in the

sample being investigated for men and women separately. These data are

presented in Table 13. After noting the disparity in the women's Investi-

gative and Artistic Scale scores, it was decided to analyze the data

further to determine if there could be a significant interaction between

sex and test anxiety for career salience and Holland's six occupational

types. The results of these analyses are presented in Tables 14 to 20.

Regarding Realistic, Conventional, and Enterprising Scores (Tables

14, 17, and 18 respectively) only sex effect is indicated--to be expected

in the VPI scales. It is noteworthy that the Social Score (Table 16)

does not indicate a sex effect; Holland reports means of 4.5 for men,

and 8.1 for women in the normative sample given in the VPI manual (1975,

p. 29). Significant interaction effects (.05 level) between test anxiety

and sex are found for the Investigative (Table 15) and the Artistic Score

(Table 19). The results presented in Table 20 indicate no significant

interaction effects for the career salience variable. Means and standard

deviations are shown in Table 21.

The Ac Scale data were also re-examined and the means and standard

deviations computed separately for men and women. The results are shown

in Table 22. It is recalled that a significant difference was found

between the sample means of the Ac Scale for LA and HA students (Table 6).

The results in Table 22 suggest that for the sample under investigation,

the source of the difference in means is the subgroup of LA women. In

the VPI manual (1975, p. 29), Holland reports an 11.6 Ac Scale mean for

men and an 11.7 mean for women with a standard deviation of 4.8 for both

sexes. A comparison of Holland's figures with those reported in Table 22

further suggests that the LA women differ not only in their Ac Scores but

also in the degree of homogeneity because of the relatively small standard

deviation. These observations are, of course, only tentative suggestions

because of the small sizes of the subgroups in this study.



This chapter will begin with a brief summary of the study to this

point, will then discuss the results, and will conclude with implications

of the results and suggestions for further research.


The principal reason for undertaking this study was to test a hypo-

thesis that there is a relationship between career salience and test

anxiety. This hypothesis was developed from the writer's clinical obser-

vations and from Rollo May's theory of anxiety, i.e. that anxiety stems

from a threat to a value which a person perceives as essential to his or

her existence as a personality.

The writer developed the Ranked List of Life Values (RLLV) as an

instrument to measure career salience (Appendix D). This instrument asks

the subjects to imagine themselves to be 80 years old and reflecting on a

full and satisfying life. They are then asked to rank ten items, given in

statement form, in order of importance. Among the statements of values to

be ranked is "I have had a satisfying career in an occupation of my choice."

The rank, from 1 (highest value) to 10, assigned to this item is designated

as the score for career salience. In pilot study with 60 students, the

RLLV's were found to have a median test-retest (3 weeks) correlation

of .85 using the Spearman rho coefficient. Pearson correlations for item

stability over this three and a half week period ranged from .51 (for

"I have achieved recognition for my talent") to .80 (for "I have experi-


enced the enrichment of the spiritual nature of life"). The career

item had a Pearson r of .69. As an indication of validity, the RLLV was

found to discriminate significantly among three groups of persons

logically presumed to differ regarding the value of a career.

The RLLV and the Mandler-Sarason Test Anxiety Scale (TAS) were used

with a sample of students from the University of Florida's Reading and

Study Skills Center to test the principal hypothesis. Reading Center

students represent a good cross section of college students, with the

reservation that they presumably do not include students completely

apathetic toward academic success, and are mainly from the lower division.

Otherwise, they are a nearly ideal choice since they consist of voluntary

and cooperative subjects, and the Reading Center is an appropriate setting

for the investigation of test anxiety.

As corollaries to the principal hypothesis that career salience would

be related to test anxiety, it was predicted that test anxiety would also

be related positively to narrowness of career choice and to decidedness of

career choice. Neither of these relationships was found. It was found,

however, that test anxiety was negatively related to narrowness of choice

at the .05 level of significance. In other words, low test anxious (LA)

students scored significantly lower on the VPI Acquiescence (Ac) Scale

than did high anxious (HA) ones.

It was also hypothesized that test anxiety would not be related

to a particular type of career; specifically, to any of Holland's six

occupational types. This hypothesis was upheld by the data. However,

comparison of the Occupational Scale means with those of the VPI norma-

tive sample (Holland, 1975, p. 29) led to a decision to analyze the data


further to determine if there might be an interaction effect between sex

and test anxiety for the six types. These interactions were found for

the Investigative and the Artistic Scores.

Because of cultural changes in attitudes of women toward achievement

and careers, it was hypothesized that women would be as frequently test

anxious as are men and as career salient as are men. Both of these hypo-

theses were upheld by the data.

Finally, it was hypothesized that career salience would be related

to only one of Holland's occupational types, the investigative type.

This was not upheld by the data. There appears to be no relationships

between career salience and any of Holland's six occupational types, as

measured by the instruments used in this study.


It was stated in the first chapter that the purpose of this study

was to discover whether some personal observations of test anxious stu-

dents would be confirmed in a controlled inquiry. The data gathered in

this study do not support the hypothesis derived from the observed facts.

One explanation of this result is that the correlates and antece-

dents of test anxiety are too numerous and complex for a single factor

such as career salience to be isolated. Furthermore, this particular

factor might have appeared more important than it actually is because it

is the type of personal problem that a client will easily discuss. Loss

of one's career goal must appear to be the most obvious consequence of

poor performance on tests.

It may be that ambivalence toward success and learned anxiety

over evaluation,often results of childhood traumas, are the major


antecedents of test anxiety. These problems, however, are unlikely to

be perceived by the client and are, perhaps, even less likely to be

acknowledged or discussed. This supposition is consistent with Sarason

and Koenig's (1965) findings that high test anxious (HA) students made

significantly fewer negative statements about their parents than did low

test anxious (LA) students. It seems probable that the more a person

must suppress feelings about parental conflicts, the more he or she

might talk about other subjects in a counseling situation. Career plans,

including decidedness, intensity of commitment, and place among life

values, are safe problems for discussion and may, if talked about in-

tensely enough, serve as a barricade to prevent access to more threatening


As noted earlier, Hypothesis 2 concerning test anxiety and Holland's

Acquiescence (Ac) Scale was rejected but in the opposite direction to

that predicted. The mean Ac score of the HA group was 10.90; that of the

LA group was 8.87. Comparing these means with those Holland reports in

the VPI manual (1975, p. 29), it is the low anxious group that deviates

more from his 11.6 mean for 6290 college freshmen men and 11.6 mean for

6143 college freshmen women. (Standard deviation is 4.8 for both sexes.)

A study using a larger number of subjects to establish local norms would,

of course, be necessary to determine the statistical significance of this

apparent trend.

One explanation for this trend of low anxious students to say "Yes"

to fewer occupations is that it is a function of response style. A "No,

not interested" attitude toward occupations may be correlated with a "No,

nothing's wrong with me" attitude in completing the Test Anxiety Scale.

However, a breakdown of the data by sex and an examination of the means

suggested that this lower Ac Scale trend is confined to LA women (see

Table 22). A t-test indicates that the mean of the LA women's group

is significantly lower than that of the HA women (t = -4.20, d.f. = 26,

p < .001). On the other hand, the LA subgroup appears to rank career

as highly as do the HA women (see Table 21).

One possible explanation for this apparent contradiction might be

suggested by the following hypothetical portrait. The LA woman might be

seen as a student who values career as one of her life goals as highly as

do other students, but in a more abstract way. Whether from social pres-

sure or from realistically perceived necessity, a career with the personal

and economic independence it apparently promises has become an important

part of her future. But perhaps she is still relatively naive about

occupational titles and therefore omits many items or checks "no" to many

of them. And, finally, she is not particularly concerned with either

test performance or with expanding her range of career choices to a

realistic breadth. This is, of course, a highly speculative and tentative

picture. Another study with a larger number of subjects, using local and

current Ac Scale norms, and examining other variables would be necessary

for a more valid interpretation.

Hypothesis 3, concerning decidedness of career choice, was retained

contrary to prediction. According to the data, LA students are as fre-

quently decided as are HA ones. When further investigation analyzed the

data for each sex separately, a trend was noted for HA women to be more

frequently decided in career choice than LA women or than either subgroup

of men. This trend was not found significant at the .05 level, however.

This might be due to the insensitivity of the measure.

Hypothesis 4, that test anxiety is not related to any of Holland's

six occupational types, was retained as predicted. The results suggested

that test anxiety is too idiosyncratic to be related to particular career

choices, at least as measured by VPI raw scores.

More complex patterns were found, however, when the data were further

analyzed by sex. Significant interactions between sex and test anxiety

for the Investigative and the Artistic types were found. On both scales,

HA women scored significantly higher than did the LA women (Investigative:

t= -2.93, d.f. = 26, p < .01; Artistic: t= -2.75, d.f. = 26, p< .01).

Significant differences were not found (.05 level) between the means of

the LA and HA men on either of these scales. Further research is needed

to confirm these findings and to offer tenable explanations of these

interactions. In these days of rapidly changing attitudes toward

careers, both in general and in particular, entirely new patterns may be

forming and much speculation as to cause and effect would be premature.

Hypothesis 5, that women are as frequently test anxious as men, was

retained, as predicted. Test anxiety appears to be too much an individual

personal problem to be related to sex. It may also indicate that with

the changing cultural pressures, women are acquiring some of the success

neuroses formerly thought of as the exclusive property of men. Hypothesis

6 is concerned with the relationship of career salience to sex. As pre-

dicted, no relationship was found. This is consistent, as are the

results supporting Hypothesis 5, with the conclusions of Beery (1975,

1976) and Helson (1972) that the gap is narrowing between men and women's

attitudes toward achievement and the value of a career.

The seventh hypothesis considered the relationship between career

salience and Holland's six occupational types. It was predicted that of

the six types, only the Investigative type would be positively correlated

with career salience. This relationship was not found, contrary to pre-

diction. Some of the correlates of career salience reported by Greenhaus

(1971), e.g. ambition and self-rated effort, had seemed to form a profile

similar to Holland's description of the Investigative type. Such con-

structs, however, are probably too nebulous and too subject to different

interpretations to have justified the prediction.

Perhaps the most positive aspect of this study was the development of

the Ranked List of Life Values (RLLV) as a measure of career salience.

It is simple to administer and takes about six to eight minutes to complete.

Attrition caused by not following directions (e.g. assigning ties or sub-

stantially changing the wording of an item) was extremely low. And,

finally, students seemed to enjoy the exercise for its own sake.


Implications for Counseling

In a time of rapid change of occupational patterns and in attitudes

toward work and careers, a simple instrument such as the RLLV would seem

useful for longitudinal, cultural, and demographic studies of career

salience. The RLLV may also be useful in measuring other values, or

simply as an exercise in value clarification in individual, couple, or

group counseling.

The main implication for the counseling profession concerns the

treatment of test anxious students. There appears to be no relationship

between test anxiety and career salience, and although the counselor

might discuss career plans with a test anxious client routinely, it would

appear that the principal emphasis should remain in developing study

skills. Such training will lead, first of all, to greater academic

competence. In addition, if short, timed, test-like exercises are

assigned with careful attention to an appropriate level of difficulty,

the test anxious student will experience repeated successes and thus

develop greater confidence and sense of mastery. As the review of liter-

ature suggests, an effective treatment for test anxiety would also in-

clude, ideally, group counseling and, if appropriate, relaxation training.

Finally, the indication found in this study that women are as fre-

quently test anxious and career salient as are men should reinforce the

present attempts to avoid sex stereotypes and bias in personal and voca-

tional counseling. The trends found in the further analyses of data by

sex should add to counselors' awareness of changing career patterns among

both men and women.

Implications for Future Research

The RLLV was found to be useful in this study and could prove valuable

in research and counseling. It would have greater value if norms were

established for the general population and for various subgroups. As a

counseling technique, its usefulness might be investigated in a wide

range of settings by asking counselors and clients to evaluate its effec-

tiveness in value clarification. Intercorrelations among the value items

might be of interest. These have been computed for the psychology class

sample used for the preliminary reliability study. The item correlations

are presented in Appendix J.

In this study, the VPI raw scores were used to measure the six occu-

pational types. Optionally, types may be identified by classification of

stated career choice or by college major. Either of these methods would

be faster and simpler to use and, therefore, make the use of a larger

sample more feasible.

Perhaps the most important direction for future research lies in

the replication of several aspects of this study, with samples large

enough to break the data down by sex in order to examine it for inter-

action effects. This could prove valuable, particularly in investigating

the emerging patterns of career attitudes and development among college



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Present Marital Status: Single_ Engaged_
Sex and ages of your own children
Number of older brothers N
Number of older sisters Ni




umber of younger brothers
umber of younger sisters


Where did you attend high school?
Have you received special help in reading? When?
Mother's occupation_ Father's occupation
Mother's education Father's education

What schools) have you attended since high school graduation?

If you are an entering freshman, what was your grade point average your last
year in high school?
What was your grade point average last quarter?
Cumulative grade point?
Are you on probation?

What courses are you taking now?
Title Credit

CAREER PLANS (Check one of the following)

1. I am completely undecided
2. I have a rather general but not a specific idea of my career choice.
3. I am fairly certain of my specific career choice.
4. I am certain of my career choice.
If you check 2, 3, or 4, please state your career choice:

If working, how many hours per week? What kind of work?

Briefly state why you have come to the Reading and Study Skills Center.

I would like some help in controlling anxiety about tests: Yes No





Please mark appropriate column with an X.



Please answer all questions.

i fI 1. While taking an important exam I find myself thinking of how
much brighter the other students are than I am.

0jI Ej 2. If I were to take an intelligence test, I would worry a great
deal before taking it.

EL I] 3. If I knew I was going to take an intelligence test, I would
feel confident and relaxed, beforehand.

E] lJ 4. While taking an important examination I perspire a great deal.

12 [] 5. During course examinations I find myself thinking of things
unrelated to the actual course material.

0I DL 6. I get to feel very panicky when I have to take a surprise exam.
LI ] 7. During tests I find myself thinking of the consequences of

lI F] 8. After important tests I am frequently so tense that my stomach
gets upset.

li -i 9. I freeze up on things like intelligence tests and final exams.

lI FI 10. Getting a good grade on one test doesn't seem to increase my
confidence on the second.

l f- 11. I sometimes feel my heart beating very fast during important

S F] 12. After taking a test I always feel I could have done better
than I actually did.

L] L] 13. I usually get depressed after taking a test.

E] ] 14. I have an uneasy, upset feeling before taking a final

L L] 15. When taking a test my emotional feelings do not interfere
with my performance.

i E] 16. During a course examination I frequently get so nervous that
I forget facts I really know.


APPENDIX B Continued

True False
-I -l3 17. I seem to defeat myself while working on important tests.

S -i 18. The harder I work at taking a test or studying for one, the
more confused I get.

L L 19. As soon as an exam is over I try to stop worrying about it,
but I just can't.

I- 1- 20. During exams I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get through

IZ- [j 21. I would rather write a paper than take an examination for my
grade in a course.
II L 22. I wish examinations did not bother me so much.
[I1 L 23. I think I could do much better on tests if I could take them

L- [I 24. Thinking about the grade I may get in a course interferes with
my studying and my performance on tests.
I L 25. If examinations could be done away with I think I would actu-
ally learn more.
[ L] 26. On exams I take the attitude, "If I don't know it now there's
no point worrying about it."
El 27. I really don't see why some people get so upset about tests.

LI Ql 28. Thoughts of doing poorly interfere with my performance on

L] L 29. I don't study any harder for final exams than for the rest of
my course work.
E L 30. Even when I'm well prepared for a test, I feel very anxious
about it.
I L 3 31. I don't enjoy eating before an important test.
LI L 32. Before an important examination I find my hands or arms
nL I 33. I seldom feel the need for "cramming" before an exam.


True False
aU ] 34.

n r]




The University ought to recognize that some students are more
nervous than others about tests and that this affects their
It seems to me that examination periods ought not to be made
the tense situations which they are.
I start feeling very uneasy just before getting a test paper
I dread courses where the professor has the habit of giving
"pop" quizzes.



Informed Consent Form

University of Florida
Gainesville, 32611

Reply To

Reading and Study Skills Center
141 Building E

To the student:

I am collecting information for a study relating personal values to
occupational interests. I would appreciate it if you would take the
time to complete the two attached forms. When I have completed the
study, I will let you know the results and I, or one of the other coun-
selors, will be glad to discuss them with you or answer any of your ques-

Participation is completely voluntary, so if for any reason you
would rather not take part in this project, please feel free to say so.
Furthermore, you may withdraw at any time. Your answers will be strictly
confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only.

Thank you,

Margaret Green
Principal Investigator

I have read and understand the procedure described above. I agree to
participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this

Signature of Student




Ranked List of Life Values

Imagine that it is your 80th birthday. You have just stated in an inter-

view that you have had a full and satisfying life. The reporter asks you

to give some specific reasons. Rank the following examples of reasons

according to importance to you. Assign #1 to what you imagine will be

the most important factor in an ideal life for you, #2 to the next, and

so on to #10 to the least important. Please do not alter or omit any

statements or assign ties.


A. I have

B. I have

C. I have

D. I have

E. I have

F. I have

G. I have

H. I have

SI. I have

J. I have

generally been in excellent health.

had a good marriage (or relationship with another).

made a lot of money.

traveled as much as I wanted.

had a satisfying career in an occupation of my choi

made a lot of good friends.

had children (a child) who are (is) a great joy to

achieved recognition for my talent.

experienced the enrichment of the spiritual nature

generally enjoyed and benefited from my leisure hours.