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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 5;13(2):e0191779. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191779. eCollection 2018.

Benefits of expressive writing in reducing test anxiety: A randomized controlled trial in Chinese samples.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Xinxiang Medical University, Xinxiang City, Henan Province, P. R. China.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To explore the effect of expressive writing of positive emotions on test anxiety among senior-high-school students.

METHODS:

The Test Anxiety Scale (TAS) was used to assess the anxiety level of 200 senior-high-school students. Seventy-five students with high anxiety were recruited and divided randomly into experimental and control groups. Each day for 30 days, the experimental group engaged in 20 minutes of expressive writing of positive emotions, while the control group was asked to merely write down their daily events. A second test was given after the month-long experiment to analyze whether there had been a reduction in anxiety among the sample. Quantitative data was obtained from TAS scores. The NVivo10.0 software program was used to examine the frequency of particular word categories used in participants' writing manuscripts.

RESULTS:

Senior-high-school students indicated moderate to high test anxiety. There was a significant difference in post-test results (P < 0.001), with the experimental group scoring obviously lower than the control group. The interaction effect of group and gender in the post-test results was non-significant (P > 0.05). Students' writing manuscripts were mainly encoded on five code categories: cause, anxiety manifestation, positive emotion, insight and evaluation. There was a negative relation between positive emotion, insight codes and test anxiety. There were significant differences in the positive emotion, anxiety manifestation, and insight code categories between the first 10 days' manuscripts and the last 10 days' ones.

CONCLUSIONS:

Long-term expressive writing of positive emotions appears to help reduce test anxiety by using insight and positive emotion words for Chinese students. Efficient and effective intervention programs to ease test anxiety can be designed based on this study.

PMID:
29401473
PMCID:
PMC5798770
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0191779
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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