Assessing the effectiveness of a computer-based, online social-networking intervention for adolescents with test anxiety

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Date

2010-08

Authors

Baker, Richard Wes, 1977-

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Abstract

This dissertation investigated the effectiveness of a newly designed intervention for adolescents with test anxiety. This CBT-based intervention is comprised of two parts: self-guided psychoeducational computer modules, and an online social networking group. The intervention was designed to provide adolescents with an effective means of reducing test anxiety symptoms, delivered through a familiar medium—the Internet. This study was conducted in classrooms in Houston, TX, with high school student participants. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: those receiving the computer modules component only, those receiving the computer modules and social networking group, and those receiving no treatment (control). Test anxiety levels were assessed with the self-report Test Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, et al., 1980). Changes in test anxiety levels over time were compared to changes in a measure of academic achievement. The author compared changes in test anxiety level among the three groups using repeated measures ANOVA. It was hypothesized that participants in the two treatment groups would show improvements in test anxiety symptoms over time, while those in the control condition would not. It was further hypothesized that decreases in test anxiety symptoms would correlate with increases in academic achievement. Participants in all three groups showed some decrease in anxiety symptoms. There were no statistically significant differences between groups; however, there were some intriguing trends in the computer module only group, which showed a clinically meaningful, but not statistically different, decrease in anxiety. There was no association between changes in test anxiety symptoms and academic achievement. Results of this study suggest that this intervention may not currently present an effective option for treating the symptoms of test anxiety. Results may be used to make data-driven improvements to address the limitations and unforeseen weaknesses of this intervention approach.

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