Predictability of Personality Traits and Perfectionism Types on Test Anxiety in College Students


  • Alexandra Holmes Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Gabriel Terwilliger Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Vanessa Medina Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Dr. Starlette Sinclair Florida Gulf Coast University



Personality, Perfectionism, Test Anxiety, Undergraduate


This research was to understand how personality and perfectionism traits function together to affect test anxiety in college students. We compared personality, perfectionism, and test anxiety scores between male and female students and between Hispanic and non-Hispanic students. Our results showed significant differences in emotional stability, rigid perfectionism, self-critical perfectionism, and overall test anxiety. Regression and correlation analyses were used to assess the relationships between the Big Five Personality, the Big Three Perfectionism, and test anxiety. These factors collectively accounted for significant amounts of variance in test anxiety scores (33% - 65%). Comparison analyses were performed to determine whether there were prediction differences by sex and ethnicity. Female students’ test anxiety was significantly predicted by self-critical perfectionism, extraversion, and emotional stability, the same could not be said for male students. We share some limited findings regarding the male students in our sample but stop short of claiming that personality and perfectionism traits are not predictive of test anxiety in the population due to much smaller representation relative to female students. In our group of Hispanic students, self-critical perfectionism, rigid perfectionism, extraversion, and emotional stability all provided unique prediction of test anxiety. Non-Hispanic students’ test anxiety was predicted by self-critical perfectionism, extraversion, and emotional stability; however, narcissistic perfectionism emerged as a significant predictor only for this group. If universities are concerned with implementing effective initiatives for support of student learning and success, it is imperative that intentional consideration of the impact of non-cognitive skills and intersectional identities be considered.





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