The Interaction model of anxiety is based on a distinction between state anxiety (A - State) and trait anxiety (A - Trait). A - State is a transitory condition characterized by a response of tension and apprehension.

There are two basic components of A - State:

  • cognitive reactions, consisting of self - ruminative thoughts focussing on inadequacies and potential failures, and
  • autonomic or emotional responses, consisting of sympathetic nervous system reactions such as rapid heart rate and dry mouth.

A - Trait is also a multidimensional construct reflecting an individual's predisposition to experience A - State.

Factor analyses revealed that A - Trait consists of at least four dimensions:

Interactional anxiety is also based on a person by situation model. As is the case for an interaction in analysis of variance, the effects of the person variable (A - Trait) on behaviour (A - State) are expected to differ across situations.