Foreign language reading anxiety (FLRA), an anxiety experienced by language learners when reading in a foreign language, is negatively correlated with foreign language skills. While past studies relied primarily on subjective FLRA self-reports, how well they can reflect physiological indicators of anxiety remains unclear. This study investigated the links between subjective and objective measures of FLRA and their relationships with reading comprehension in children. A total of 102 Chinese primary fourth graders completed a selfrated Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS). Based on the scores, 33 of them (20 low-FLRAS, 13 high-FLRAS) were selected. They completed a nonverbal reasoning task (control) and an English reading comprehension task with their heart rate (HR) monitored during the process. HR was found to increase in the high-FLRAS group but reduce in the low-FLRAS group during the reading comprehension task. Results of hierarchical regression showed that percentage change in mean HR significantly predicted FLRAS after gender was controlled. The low-FLRAS group outperformed the high-FLRAS group in reading comprehension. Reading comprehension score was significantly predicted only by FLRAS after gender was controlled. This study has demonstrated the effectiveness of subjective measure of FLRA in predicting foreign language ability and its link with physiological FLRA. The findings suggest students’ foreign language skills could be enhanced by reducing FLRA.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2015|