A differential analysis of the effects of interventions on three types of test anxiety

Rita Feldman Klein, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine the effectiveness of three types of interventions (cognitive, emotional, and cognitive-emotional) currently used for reducing test anxiety. Results were examined with regard to which components of test anxiety (worry, emotionality, and worry-emotionality) a given treatment had the most impact on. If individuals are categorized as to a type of test anxiety they experience, based on the component of test anxiety that is most prevalent, does matching an intervention to a type of test anxiety work more effectively on that type of test anxiety? Also, did a treatment that contained a cognitive component (shown to be responsible for performance deficits) alleviate performance deficits better than one that did not? Forty-eight community college volunteers participated in the study. Each responded to the Test Anxiety Inventory, including the worry and emotionality subscales and an anagram performance measure as pre- and posttests and received one of three treatment interventions: thought-stopping (cognitive), systematic desensitization (emotional), or cognitive modification (cognitive-emotional). Individuals were classified into a type of test anxiety based on cutoff scores on the pretest version of the Test Anxiety Inventory.^ The results indicated that all interventions were equally effective at lowering scores on the Test Anxiety Inventory and all significantly lowered scores pretest to posttest. The components of test anxiety were differentially treated by a corresponding intervention. No evidence was obtained for matching a type of intervention to a type of test anxiety. Only one of the matched interventions to type of test anxiety exhibited significant change. The interventions that did incorporate a cognitive component did alleviate performance deficits better than an intervention without a cognitive component.^ The results suggested that it is not effective to classify individuals into types of test anxiety. Instead we should attempt to choose which components of test anxiety we wish to treat, based on the ones that are causing the most distress. ^

Subject Area

School counseling|Educational psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Klein, Rita Feldman, "A differential analysis of the effects of interventions on three types of test anxiety" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109234.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9109234

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