Does reading anxiety impact on academic achievement in higher education students?
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Poor readers have lower academic achievement and increased anxiety, including reading anxiety, which may perpetuate lower academic achievement. We explored reading anxiety in university students, investigating whether the association between reading ability and academic achievement is mediated by reading anxiety (independent of general anxiety). Participants were students (n = 169, 69% female, age = 20.70) at an Australian university who completed an online reading assessment (decoding skills, phonological awareness, orthographical knowledge and comprehension), and a survey examining reading anxiety, trait anxiety and self-reported reading history. Academic achievement was based on university grades. Two reading anxiety factors (social and non-social) were identified; both factors were distinct from trait anxiety. Reading ability was negatively correlated with reading anxiety and positively correlated with academic achievement. Reading anxiety was not correlated with academic achievement and it did not mediate the relationship between reading ability and academic achievement as expected. As this was the first study to explore reading anxiety in adults, further research is required to determine the impact reading anxiety may have on university students beyond academic achievement.
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