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J Affect Disord. 2017 Jan 15;208:483-489. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.10.039. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy with relaxation vs. imagery rescripting on test anxiety: A randomized controlled trial.

Author information

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.

Abstract

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-behavioral 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 rescripting were applied.

METHODS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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

PMID:
27825724
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2016.10.039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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