Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

You are here: Home Stress Relief Test Anxiety, Learning Reducing test anxiety and improving academic self-esteem in students with learning disbilities.

Reducing test anxiety and improving academic self-esteem in students with learning disbilities.

18 May

A study from the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California tests whether cognitive behavioral training helps learning disabled older students (high school and college) with test anxiety.

A randomized, controlled clinical trial out of the psychology department at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California, tested whether a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) for reducing test anxiety and improving academic self-esteem was effective for high school and college students with learning disabilities.

All 27 of the students were enrolled in classes for students with learning disabilities and complained of test anxiety. In the pre-test, these students showed an elevated score on the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI). Eleven students completed the 8-week long treatment, which consisted of progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, self-instruction training, as well as training in study and test-taking skills.

Results in the post-test showed significant improvement in the treated group as compared to the control group. Compared to the control group, the CBT group showed significant reduction in test anxiety on the TAI, as well as improvement in study skills and academic self-esteem, as measured by the Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes, and the school scale of the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory.

These results, already demonstrated in several studies of younger students, show that this method holds up for older students. They also suggest that relief from test anxiety can be expected fairly quickly when cognitive-behavioral methods are used.

Citation: Wachelka D, Katz RC. Reducing test anxiety and improving academic self-esteem in high school and college students with learning disabilities. Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 1999 Sep;30 (3): pages191-8.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award