Self-reported generalised anxiety and psychomotor test performance in healthy South Africans
South African Journal of Psychology
P. O. Box 494, Simon's Town, 7995, South Africa
Tests like the Grooved Pegboard may have specific value in South Africa in the context of screening for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. However, there are inconsistent findings on the relationship between self-reported anxiety and neuropsychological performance in healthy adults, and in particular on tests of psychomotor functions such as the Form Board and Grooved Pegboard. Given the potential value, it is important to clarify the relationship between self-reported anxiety and performance on psychomotor tests among South African samples. Two studies are presented here. One sample of 170 young adults (19-30 years) completed the Form Board and Grooved Pegboard, after completing an anxiety scale. A second sample of 1,056 healthy adults (19-49 years) completed the Grooved Pegboard only after completing an anxiety scale. Age, gender, and education have previously been found to confound performance on these tests, and they were thus entered into a Multiple Regression Analysis, together with anxiety. In the first study, anxiety did not contribute significantly to performance variance. In the second study, both gender and anxiety did contribute significantly, and separate gender group regressions were thus done. Anxiety did not have a negative influence on performance in the female group, but it did contribute significantly to reducing performance in the male group. In review of these findings, this study cautions that anxiety may confound psychomotor test performance, and that clinicians need to be aware of its potential influence. © Psychological Society of South Africa.