Construct validity example

One aspect of the STAI's validity is that is is supported by theory. The introductory section of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory's test manual provides the following paragraphs showing the relationship between the items on the inventory (e.g., something felt, an unpleasant emotional state) and existing constructs of anxiety.(1)

"... It was Freud who first proposed a critical role for anxiety in personality theory and in the etiology of psychoneurotic and psychosomatic disorders.  Anxiety was the "fundamental phenomenon and the central  problem of neurosis" (Freud, 1936, p. 85).  For Freud, anxiety was "something felt" -- a specific unpleasant emotional state or condition of the human organism that included experiential, physiological and behavioral components."

"The term anxiety is currently used to refer to at least two related, yet logically quite different constructs. Empirically, anxiety is perhaps most often used to describe an unpleasant emotional state or condition.  Anxiety is also used to describe relatively stable individual differences in anxiety-proneness as a personality trait."

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(1) Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., Lushene, R., Vagg, P. R., & Jacobs, G. A. (1983). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory STAI (Form Y). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, p.1.