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How does music performance anxiety relate to other anxiety disorders?

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Vogel, Daniel 
Voss, Catharina 
Hoyer, Jana 


Music performance anxiety (MPA) is considered a social anxiety disorder (SAD). Recent conceptualisations, however, challenge existing MPA definitions, distinguishing MPA from SAD. In this study, we aim to provide a systematic analysis of MPA interdependencies to other anxiety disorders through graphical modelling and cluster analysis. Participants were 82 music students (Mage=23.5 years, SD=3.4; 69.5% women) with the majority being vocal (30.5%), string (24.4%) or piano (19.5%) students. MPA was measured using the German version of the Kenny Music Performance Anxiety Inventory (K-MPAI). All participants were tested for anxiety-related symptoms using the disorder-specific anxiety measures of the DSM-5, including agoraphobia (AG), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), separation anxiety disorder (SEP), specific phobia (SP), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and illness anxiety disorder (ILL). We found no evidence of MPA being primarily connected to SAD, finding GAD acted as a full mediator between MPA and any other anxiety type. Our graphical model remained unchanged considering severe cases of MPA only (K-MPAI≥105). By means of cluster analysis, we identified two participant sub-groups of differing anxiety profiles. Participants with pathological anxiety consistently showed more severe MPA. Our findings suggest that GAD is the strongest predictor for MPA amongst all major DSM-5 anxiety types.



music performance anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, DSM-5, musicians

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Psychology of Music

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SAGE Publications