Within-person variability in state anxiety across adulthood: Magnitude and associations with between-person characteristics

Denis Gerstorf, Karen L. Siedlecki, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob, Timothy A. Salthouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Across domains of functioning, research has shown substantial within-person variability in a number of different types of variables from one measurement occasion to another. Using data obtained from a large sample (n = 784, 18-97 years) at three separate occasions, we examined properties and correlates of short-term variability in a construct that by definition is prone to fluctuations, namely state anxiety. Our results revealed that participants exhibited sizeable across-occasion variation in state anxiety. The magnitude of variability was unrelated to age, but was associated with a number of individual difference characteristics such as self-reported health, aspects of personality, well-being, and cognition. However, after taking into account mean-level differences in state anxiety, evidence for unique associations of variability was minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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