Does the Implicit Association Test for assessing anxiety measure trait and state variance?



The stability of the Implicit Association Test for assessing anxiety (IAT-Anxiety) is lower than its internal consistency, indicating that the IAT-Anxiety measures both stable and occasion-specific variance. This suggests that the IAT-Anxiety may be not only a valid measure of trait anxiety but also one of state anxiety. To test this assumption, two studies were conducted in which state anxiety was experimentally induced by a public speaking task. However, both studies showed that the IAT-Anxiety score did not change when a state of anxiety was induced. Thus, it seems that occasion-specific factors other than variations in state anxiety lead to occasion-specific variance in the IAT-Anxiety score. Implications for the indirect assessment of personality dispositions with the IAT are discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.