STAI: State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults


Charles Spielberger, R.L. Gorsuch, and R.E. Lushene developed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). They wanted a series of questions that would help to distinguish the difference between temporary anxiety, often referred to as "state anxiety," and the enduring kind of anxiety referred to as "trait anxiety."(Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983)

The inventory is 40 multiple-choice questions. Each question can be answered with: almost never, sometimes, often, or almost always. This version is intended for adults, and there is another version available for children, the STAIC.

As a self-inventory, it can serve useful for those who find themselves in caregiver roles. Research indicates that anxiety is a predictor of "caregiver distress." These studies also indicate that a caregiver's distress fluctuates with their strength and type of support systems (Elliott, Shewchuk, & Richards, 2001; Shewchuk, Richards & Elliott, 1998).

In clinical settings, the STAI helps doctors and therapists to differentiate anxiety from depression. 


Online Test (free)

Printable Version, from (.pdf)

FYI: Both open new windows via externally-hosted links, and neither require an email address to take the test.



Greene, J., Cohen, D., Siskowski, C., & Toyinbo, P. (2017). The relationship between family caregiving and the mental health of emerging young adult caregivers. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 44(4), 551-5663. doi: 10.1007/s11414-016-9526-7

Spielberger, C. D. (1989). State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: Bibliography (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

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

Ugalde, A., Krishnasamy, M., & Schofield, P. (2014). The relationship between self-efficacy and anxiety and general distress in caregivers of people with advanced cancer. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 17(8), 939-41. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2013.0338

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