How does music performance anxiety relate to other anxiety disorders?

Anna Wiedemann* (Corresponding Author), Daniel Vogel, Catharina Voss, Jana Hoyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Music performance anxiety (MPA) is considered a social anxiety disorder (SAD). Recent conceptualizations, 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 modeling and cluster analysis. Participants were 82 music students (Mage = 23.5 years, SD = 3.4 years; 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 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed., DSM-5), including agoraphobia (AG), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), separation anxiety disorder (SEP), specific phobia (SP), 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 among all major DSM-5 anxiety types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204–217
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number1
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank all students and administrative staff of participating music universities. The authors would also like to express their appreciation to Professor Katja Beesdo-Baum and Dr Manfred Nusseck for general support, to Birgit Maicher for programming the basic version of the questionnaires and to Professor Hans-Christian Jabusch for helping to recruit participants as well as for discussions at later stages of the project.

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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


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