Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Patricia Davis-Wiley

Committee Members

Stergios Botzakis, Nils Jaekel, Gary Skolits, Deborah Wooten


The purpose of the present study was to address the phenomenon of English writing anxiety in Saudi female undergraduate students in the preparatory year English language program (PYEL). The newly-designed instrument, English Writing Anxiety Survey (EWAS), was developed to identify the levels of English writing anxiety in students; examine the key factors provoking second language (L2) writing anxiety (i.e., language classroom anxiety and cognitive anxiety); determine the effect of writing apprehension on students’ writing performance; investigate the roles of variables, such as reading motivation and language proficiency on students’ L2 writing anxiety; and to provide strategies to alleviate writing anxiety in apprehensive writers. Data were collected quantitatively via an online self-reported survey during the first semester of the PYEL program at Taibah University in Fall 2018. Participants (n= 296) completed the Arabic version of the EWAS via Qualtrics.Descriptive and statistical analyses revealed that the subjects were experiencing high English writing apprehension, high cognitive anxiety and had moderate reading motivation. Further data analysis showed that there was a negative correlation between writing anxiety and reading motivation. However, no significant relationship was observed and detected between writing anxiety and students’ second language proficiency. Multiple regression analysis revealed that reading motivation was a significant predicator of students’ writing anxiety, while language proficiency was found to be non-significant. Findings also revealed that writing anxiety had negatively affected the subjects' writing performance. Students attributed their writing anxiety to several sources, such as lack of confidence, fear of making mistakes and fear of evaluation. In the light of the study’s findings, the present study discussed practical and instructional implications and suggests several techniques based on pedagogically sound approaches to help reduce L2 writing anxiety in apprehensive language learners.

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