Research: REISS and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 264

Abstract

REISS and COLLEAGUES, 1. Department of Psychology, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Electronic address: n.reiss@psych.uni-frankfurt.de ; 2. Department of Psychology, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Center for Student Counseling, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany; 3. Department of Psychology, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; 4. Center for Student Counseling, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany conducted a study evaluate the effectiveness of two cognitive-behavioural interventions designed to reduce test anxiety.

Background

Test anxiety is a common condition in students, which may lead to impaired academic performance as well as to distress. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of two cognitive-behavioural interventions designed to reduce test anxiety. Test anxiety in the participants was diagnosed as social or specific phobia according to DSM-IV. Subsequently subjects were randomized to three groups: a moderated self-help group, which served as a control group, and two treatment groups, where either relaxation techniques or imagery re-scripting were applied.

Methodology

Students suffering from test anxiety were recruited at two German universities (n=180). The randomized controlled design comprised three groups which received test anxiety treatment in weekly three-hour sessions over a period of five weeks. Treatment outcome was assessed with a test anxiety questionnaire, which was administered before and after treatment, as well as in a six-month follow-up.

Results

A repeated-measures ANOVA for participants with complete data (n=59) revealed a significant reduction of test anxiety from baseline to six-month follow-up in all three treatment groups (p<.001). Limitations: Participants were included if they had a clinical diagnosis of test anxiety. The sample may therefore represent only more severe forms of text anxiety . Moreover, the sample size in this study was small, the numbers of participants per group differed, and treatment results were based on self-report. Due to the length of the treatment, an implementation of the group treatments used in this study might not be feasible in all settings.

Conclusion

Group treatments constitute an effective method of treating test anxiety, e.g. in university settings. Imagery re-scripting may particularly contribute to treatment efficacy.

References

Reiss N1, Warnecke I2, Tolgou T3, Krampen D3, Luka-Krausgrill U4, Rohrmann S4. Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy with relaxation vs. imagery rescripting on test anxiety: A randomized controlled trial. J Affect Disord. 208:483-489. Jan 15 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.10.039. Epub Nov 3 2016.

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