Date of Award


Degree Name

Exercise Science


College of Health Professions

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Mark Timmons, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Pacioles, Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Henning Vauth, Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Mr. Jack Colclough, Committee Member


Background: Performing arts are a broad view of a range of human activities that occur in front of an audience with the attempt to express human experience and emotion. Performing artists consist of dancers, instrumental musicians, vocal musicians, and drama/comedy or theater/actors. Actors and instrumental musicians participate in tremendous training to provide the emotional story they deliver. Multiple factors contribute to mental and physical stress experienced by a performer. Performance anxiety results from a performer’s fear of an adverse reaction or evaluation of their performance. Performance anxiety can be debilitating with negative effects on a performer’s performance, career, and health.

Purpose: The purpose of this comparative study was to investigate performance anxiety in actors and musicians using the validated Performance Anxiety Inventory (PAI). We hypothesized that the PAI will predict performance anxiety and that actors perform differently than musicians on the PAI.

Methods: 22 performing artists out of 25 were included in the study (6 actors and 16 musicians). The age range of participants ranged from 19-23 years old. All participants completed the PAI and data collection form. One-way ANOVA was used to determine between-group differences in the PAI score. Multiple regression and Receive Operator Characteristics analysis were used to determine the responsiveness of each item of the PAI to determine the effect of performance anxiety.

Results: No between-group differences were found for the reported anxiety, the reported performance anxiety, the SF-12 health survey, and the PAI scores. Multiple regression revealed that all items of the PAI contributed to the validity of the PAI score except item 13. Separate multiple regression analysis for each group revealed differences in the individual item responsiveness.

Conclusion: This investigation provides evidence that the PAI can assess the level of performance anxiety in instrumental musicians and theater actors. Given the between-group differences in the contribution of individual items of the PAI to the total scores, it appears that the actors and musicians might experience performance anxiety differently. Future research should establish the responsiveness of the PAI on assessing performance anxiety in larger sample sizes and more diverse populations of performing artists.


Stage fright.

Performance anxiety.