Cultural and Gender Differences in Experiences and Expression of Test Anxiety among Chinese, Finnish and Swedish Grade 3 Pupils

Mikaela Nyroos, Johan Gustav Korhonen, Aihui Peng, Karin Linnanmäki, Camilla Svens Liavåg, Anette Bagger, Gunnar Sjöberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a huge amount on research on test anxiety, little consideration has been given to cultural impacts of children’s experiences and expressions of test anxiety. The aim of the present study was to examine whether variance in test anxiety scores can be predicted based on gender and cultural setting. Three hundred ninety-eight pupils in Grade 3 in China, Finland, and Sweden, with different testing realities, completed the Children’s Test Anxiety Scale (CTAS). Results from exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM) indicated that the Chinese sample scored more highly on the autonomic reactions component, whereas the Nordic sample scored higher on the off-task behaviours component. Significant interaction effects between gender and culture were also observed; the Nordic girls exhibited higher levels of autonomic reactions, but an opposite pattern in the Chinese sample with boys reporting higher levels of the cognitive component. The conceptualization of test anxiety encompassing the component off-task behaviours appears to not be universal for children. It is also suggested that gender differences vary as a function of culture.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)37–48
JournalInternational Journal of School and Educational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • test anxiety
  • cross-cultural

Cite this