THE TREATMENT OF MATHOPHOBIA BY MEANS OF REINTERPRETATION OF PHYSIOLOGICAL AROUSAL AS A FUNCTION OF THE LEVEL OF PERCEIVED AROUSAL

LAZARO GARCIA, Fordham University

Abstract

The effectiveness of a treatment intervention which taught test anxious, female high school students to reinterpret perceived physiological arousal as facilitative was compared to a relaxation and a test-retest control condition. Treatment efficacy was also analyzed as a function of the level of perceived physiological arousal.^ The rationale for the reinterpretation intervention was derived from the studies which show that the important variable affecting test performance is how physiological arousal is interpreted by the student and not the level of arousal itself. Second, the attributional literature shows that at least within limits, physiological states can be reattributed. Finally, relaxation therapy which has aimed at reducing physiological arousal has shown equivocal results on test performance measures.^ The results revealed that both treatment conditions were effective in improving test performance as compared to the control condition. However, no significant difference was found between the two treatment conditions. In the measures of subjective discomfort, though, no significant difference was found between the two treatments and the control condition. These findings contrast with the more common findings reported in the literature which show significant reduction in subjective discomfort but with no concomitant improvement in test performance.^ One possible explanation for these contrasting results may lie in the different populations used in the different studies (e.g., high school versus college students). Another explanation may be that the scales utilized in this study to measure subjective discomfort were not as sensitive to the changes experienced by the students as those utilized in other studies.^ The results also revealed a serendiptious finding in the analysis of the cognitive interference experienced by the students while taking the performance test. These results, although not statistically significant (p < .06) revealed that in the relaxation condition, the high physiological perceivers reported substantial reduction at posttest in their level of cognitive interference. In contrast, the low physiological perceivers failed to report such reductions. These results may offer a cue as to why relaxation therapy is sometimes effective at improving test performance and at other times, it is not. ^

Subject Area

Physiological psychology

Recommended Citation

GARCIA, LAZARO, "THE TREATMENT OF MATHOPHOBIA BY MEANS OF REINTERPRETATION OF PHYSIOLOGICAL AROUSAL AS A FUNCTION OF THE LEVEL OF PERCEIVED AROUSAL" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8223599.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8223599

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