State vs trait anxiety: A case study in confirmatory factor analysis

Ira H. Bernstein, Douglas C. Eveland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger et al., 1970) originally divided anxiety into two factors: state anxiety, reflecting how an individual currently feels, and trait anxiety, reflecting how an individual generally feels. Recently, however, Spielberger revised his position to separate the presence and absence of anxiety symptoms within state and trait factors, yielding a hypothetical correlated 4-factor structure (Spielberger et al., 1980). Endler and Magnusson (1965) and Endler et al. (1976) have challenged the state vs trait distinction based upon their own factor analytical results. Since both sets of investigations used exploratory approaches, which do not postulate a particular factor structure, these studies do not provide an explicit test of the state vs trait distinction. A confirmatory factor analytic approach was used in the present study to evaluate Spielberger's 4-factor hypothesis. The subjects were large samples of male air force trainees and high school students for whom STAI data were available. The results of these confirmatory analyses indicated that the factors identified in exploratory analysis by Spielberger and his colleagues accounted for the data quite well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-372
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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