Test anxiety in relation to measures of cognitive and intellectual functioning

Carlton S. Gass, Rosie E. Curiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The potential impact of test anxiety on cognitive testing was examined in a sample of 300 predominantly male veteran referrals who were administered a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery. Exclusionary criteria included failure on effort testing (n = 14). Level of test anxiety was significantly related to performance on the WAIS-III Working Memory Index (r = 2.343, p ,< .001) but not to scores on the Processing Speed, Perceptual Organization, or Verbal Comprehension indexes. Test anxiety was not related to a global index of neuropsychological performance on the HRNES-R (Average Impairment Scale). Level of education had a collinear relationship with test anxiety in predicting cognitive test performance. Regression analyses revealed a more prominent role for education, indicating the possibility that test anxiety may be a reaction to, more than a cause of, deficient working memory performance. These results suggest that clinicians who use these particular tests should be reluctant to attribute poor test performance to anxiety that occurs during the testing process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-404
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Intelligence testing
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Test anxiety
  • Wechsler adult intelligence scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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