Self-efficacy, test anxiety and elderly systolic hypertensives
Peters, Michael Howard
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High blood pressure has been associated with poorer performance on a variety of cognitive tests but the influence of text anxiety (facilitative and debilitative) and self-efficacy has not been controlled. Forty-nine elderly people (mean age 72) with isolated systolic hypertension were compared with 49 normotensive people (mean age 71.20) on a variety of cognitive tests. The results showed that performance on any of these tests could not be used to predict blood pressure status whereas performance on just two, the Addition Task and Trailmaking B, was highly predictive of membership of high or low self-efficacy groups. On the four tests where errors were recorded the hypertensive subjects displayed a positive correlation between systolic blood pressure and a negative correlation with diastolic pressure and errors made. The normotensive group showed a similar pattern on diastolic pressure but systolic blood pressure was not predictable. There was no correlation between self-efficacy and age for the hypertensive participants but a strong negative correlation existed for the normotensive comparison group. A similar pattern emerged for self-efficacy and debilitative test anxiety while facilitative anxiety played no significant role for either group.;The results are discussed in the light of possible character traits underlying the development of systolic hypertension and how these affect performance on cognitive tests irrespective of blood pressure.