Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Valentiner, David P.

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Test-related safety behaviors, referred to as reassurance seeking, are involved in the underlying processes that maintain test anxiety and are associated with lower performance on standardized exams. The pilot and main study examine whether a cognitive model of checking behavior in OCD is applicable to reassurance seeking in test anxiety. Adapting this cognitive model to the test anxiety domain, we propose that low memory confidence contributes to poor test performance through reassurance seeking. The pilot and main study provide a test of the hypothesized mediation model. Participants of both studies are undergraduate students in introductory level psychology courses who completed the relevant measures of reassurance seeking and beliefs about memory. The participants also gave permission for researchers to access academic data and psychology course results through the university’s registration and records. In the pilot study Hayes’ PROCESS macro for SPSS Model 4 was used to examine the proposed mediation model. This analysis found a significant indirect effect from low memory confidence on standardized exam scores through reassurance seeking. The pilot study provided support for the potential applicability of a memory confidence model of compulsive checking behavior to the test anxiety domain. The main study replicated the pilot study and aimed to address several of the first study’s limitations. The main study proposed that reassurance seeking and spoiling answers mediate the relationship between low memory confidence and performance on an academic exam. Results of the main study did not support the proposed mediation model. The main study results did reveal a significant association and direct effect from low memory confidence to reassurance seeking. Future directions and clinical implications are discussed.


31 pages




Northern Illinois University

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