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Managing exam stress using UMTS phones: the advantage of portable audio/video support.

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Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab., Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.


Test-taking anxiety or stress is very common among university students. It can be very distressing and sometimes debilitating. Exam anxiety involves physical components and emotional components that may be taken into account for managing and reducing anxiety. An approach to control exam anxiety is to learn how to regulate emotions. To help students in managing exam stress we developed a specific protocol based on mobile narratives--multimedia narratives experienced on UMTS/3G phones. 30 female university students (M=23.48; sd=1.24) who were going to perform an exam within a week were included in the trial. They were randomly divided in five groups according to the type and mobility of the medium used: (1) audio only narrative (CD at home); (2) audio only narrative (portable MP3); (3) audio and video narrative (DVD at home); (4) audio and video narrative (UMTS based); (5) control group. Audio/video narratives induced a reduction in exam anxiety in more than 80% of the sample vs 50% of the MP3 sample and 0% of the CD sample. Further, all the users who experienced mobile narratives on UMTS phones were able to relax before the exam, against 50% of DVD users and 33% of audio-only users. The trial showed a better efficacy of mobile narratives experienced on UMTS phones in reducing the level of exam stress and in helping the student to relax. These results suggest that for the specific sample considered--Italian university students--the media used for providing an anti-stress protocol has a clear impact on its efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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