Background: Based on the assumptions that depersonalization symptoms are relevant for test anxiety maintenance, we examined their frequency, psychological predictors, association with anxiety symptoms, and association with test performance. Sampling and Methods: In Study 1, 203 students rated their test anxiety severity and depersonalization in their last oral examination. In Study 2, we assessed test anxiety 1 week before an oral examination, depersonalization, safety behaviors, self-focused attention, and negative appraisals of depersonalization directly after the examination, and post-event processing 1 week later among 67 students. Results: In Study 1, 47.3% reported at least one moderate depersonalization symptom. In Study 2, test anxiety and negative appraisals of depersonalization significantly predicted depersonalization. Depersonalization was linked to a higher intensity of safety behaviors and post-event processing but not to self-focused attention. It was not related to performance. Conclusion: Results are limited by the non-random sampling and the small sample size of Study 2. However, by showing that depersonalization contributes to the processes the maintenance of test anxiety, the findings confirm that depersonalization – normally understood as an adaptive mechanism to cope with stressful events – can become maladaptive.

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