Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Lisa L. Scherer
Joseph C. LaVoie
This study investigated the effects of problem structuring and anxiety on the quantity and quality of solutions generated for ill-structured, complex problems. Trait anxiety, the tendency to feel anxious across a wide variety of situations, has been shown to impair problem solving performance in certain conditions. Trait anxiety was examined as a possible moderator of the relationship between problem structuring and solution generation. Participants were 184 undergraduate psychology students. Participants completed a trait anxiety measure (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; Spielberger, 1983) and generated solutions to an ill-structured problem, with varying levels of structuring (no objectives, one-objective-at-a-time, conflicting objectives). The quantity and resolving power of solutions generated was assessed by raters. Participants in the one-objective-at-a-time condition generated more solutions than those in the no objectives condition or the conflicting objectives condition, as predicted. Contrary to hypothesis, trait anxiety did not moderate the relationship between problem structuring and solution generation.
Wightman, Judith A., "Trait Anxiety as a Moderator of Problem Structuring Effects on Solution Generation" (1999). Student Work. 170.
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