Landers, D. M., Arent, S. M., Rogers, T. J., He, C.X., & Lochbaum, M. R. (2002). The State Anxiety Inventory: A measure of arousal/activation or anxiety/tension? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(5), Supplement abstract 164.

Two studies were conducted to compare State Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Activation-Deactivation Adjective Checklist (AD-ACL - Thayer, 1989) responses. In the first study, six combinations of aerobic exercise (50-55% and 70-75% VO2max for 15, 30, and 45 minutes) were performed and scale responses correlated. In the second investigation, the time course of the anxiety/arousal relationship was examined during 30 minutes of exercise at 50% and 75% VO2max.

In both studies, the SAI was more negatively correlated with the Energy subscale than was the Tension subscale. Also, the SAI was more negatively correlated with Calmness than was Tension.

"These results suggest that the SAI is a more polar opposite of Calmness and Energy than is the AD-DCL's own tension subscale. This also suggests that the SAI is assessing a construct different than that assessed by the Tense Arousal subscale of the AD-ACL and, as such, does not appear to be confounded by activation to the extent that it would influence the construct validity of the SAI for use in acute exercise studies" (p. S29).

Implication. The State Anxiety Inventory, while appearing to contain questions that would assess both arousal and anxiety, was shown to be valid for assessing anxiety. The arousal factor was quite minor.

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