Personality traits and examination anxiety: Moderating role of gender


  • Arezou Asghari Putra University of Malaysia
  • Rusnani bte Abdul.Kadir Putra University of Malaysia
  • Habibah bte Elias Putra University of Malaysia
  • Maznah bte Baba Putra University of Malaysia



Personality traits, examination anxiety, gender differences, Iranian high school students


This study is aimed at examining the moderating effect of gender on the relationship between personality traits and state anxiety. The participants were 375 Iranian high school students (193 males and 182 females). The instruments used were the NEO-FFI-3 Inventory and State Anxiety Inventory. Results of the structural model showed that from the five personality dimensions, extraversion and conscientiousness negatively related to state anxiety whereas neuroticism affected it positively. Results of multigroup analysis also revealed that gender moderated the paths between extraversion and state anxiety in female students and conscientiousness and state anxiety in male students. Overall, findings suggested that both personality traits and gender differences can be determinant factors in state anxiety.

Cette étude porte sur l’effet modérateur qu’a le sexe sur le rapport entre les traits de caractère et l’état d’anxiété. Les participants consistaient en 375 élèves iraniens au secondaire (193 hommes et 182 femmes). Le questionnaire NEO-FFI-3 et le questionnaire SAI sur l’anxiété (State Anxiety Inventory) ont servi d’outils à l’étude. Les résultats du modèle structurel ont indiqué que des cinq dimensions du caractère, l’extraversion et la conscience sont en relation négative avec l’anxiété, alors que le névrosisme est en relation positive. Les résultats d’une analyse multi-groupe ont également révélé que le sexe atténuait le rapport entre l’extraversion et l’anxiété chez les femmes, et entre la conscience et l’anxiété chez les hommes. Globalement, les résultats portent à conclure que tant les traits de caractère que les différences entre les sexes peuvent être des facteurs déterminants dans l’état d’anxiété.

Author Biographies

Arezou Asghari, Putra University of Malaysia

Arezou Asghari holds a master degree in Educational Psychology from Sahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran. Since 2009, she has been doing her Ph.d in the field of Educational psychology in Putra University Malaysia (UPM). Her research interests include personality traits, coping strategies, anxiety, child and adolescent development and mental health.

Rusnani bte Abdul.Kadir, Putra University of Malaysia

Associate Professor. Dr. Rusnani Abdul Kadir got her Ph. D in Counselling & Guidance in Kansas State University, Kansas, USA, in 1993. She started lecturing at Putra University (UPM) in 1984. She is currently working as a head of department. Her research interests include development of multicultural competence among Malaysian counselors, adolescents’ health, career counselling, and school counselling.

Habibah bte Elias, Putra University of Malaysia

Professor Dr. Habibah binti Elias is a professor and lecturer in Educational Psychology at the Faculty of Educational Studies, University Putra Malaysia. Her areas of interest are motivation, teaching, and learning. She is involved with research activities and consultancy work in the field of teaching and learning and special education. Her field of specialization is Educational Psychology and she has written several books and articles in refereed journals related to her areas of interest.

Maznah bte Baba, Putra University of Malaysia

Dr. Maznah Baba was awarded a doctoral degree in Counsellor Education from Syracuse University (SU), New York, USA, in 1990. She started her lecturing career at Putra University (UPM) in 1980 after completing her MS in Guidance and Counselling from SU. Her current research interests include studying family stress and coping, especially among widows and orphans, and juvenile delinquency.




How to Cite

Asghari, A., Abdul.Kadir, R. bte, Elias, H. bte, & Baba, M. bte. (2013). Personality traits and examination anxiety: Moderating role of gender. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 59(1), 45–54.