Can the neuroticism-willingness to communicate relationship across languages be explained by anxiety?

Ewa Piechurska-Kuciel, Katarzyna Ożańska-Ponikwia, Katarzyna Skałacka

Abstract


This study focuses on the role of neuroticism in shaping L1 and L2 users’ communicative behaviour, as represented by the L1/L2 users’ willingness to communicate (WTC). It was expected that this relationship could be explained by language-specific forms of anxiety: communication apprehension (CA) in L1 communication, and language anxiety (LA) in L2 communication. The participants were 621 Polish secondary grammar school students at the intermediate to upper-intermediate levels of English proficiency. Two mediation analyses revealed that for L1 communication, neuroticism was significantly related to WTC, with CA mediating this relationship. For L2 communication, in contrast, this relationship could be observed only when controlling for LA, which suppressed the link between neuroticism and WTC. These findings suggest that the effect of neuroticism on the willingness to communicate is indirect in L2 communication, and detectable with the mediation of language anxiety. It can thus be concluded that the link between personality and aspects of communicative behaviour is likely to be language-dependent, suggesting that it may be necessary to apply more refined research models when assessing L2 effects.


Keywords


personality; neuroticism; communication apprehension; language anxiety; willingness to communicate

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