Developmental trends in the appraisal of anxiety-provoking situations


  • This study was supported by a grant from the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences to D. Magnusson for the research program ‘Person Situation Interactions and Situation Analyses.’

Requests for reprints should be addressed to Håken Stattin, Department of Psychology, University of Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


Empirical results on the appraisal of anxiety-provoking situations are integrated with general findings on perceptual and cognitive growth. It was hypothesized that younger teenagers would appraise relations between anxiety-provoking situations on the basis of manifest and perceptually salient characteristics of the situations more so than would older teenagers, whereas the latter group would view relations predominantly on the basis of latent, anticipatory qualities. The hypothesis was tested with a similarity rating method designed to enable subjects to rate similarity between situations both from manifest and latent situation characteristics. The results supported the hypothesis. Implications of results for stability of cross-situational behavior was discussed.