Use of electromyographic biofeedback and cue-controlled relaxation in the treatment of test anxiety

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Studied the effect of using electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback to increase the efficacy of cue-controlled relaxation training in the treatment of test anxiety. 40 college undergraduates scoring in the upper third on the Test Anxiety Scale were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment conditions--EMG-assisted cue-controlled relaxation, cue controlled relaxation alone, attention-placebo relaxation, and no-treatment control. Pre-post self-report measures of test anxiety, state anxiety, and trait anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) were obtained. In addition, a performance measure (Otis-Lennon Mental Abilities Test) was administered. Ss from the 3 relaxation groups received 6 45-min individual sessions over 2 wks. All treatments were conducted using audiotape recordings. Results indicate that cue-controlled relaxation is effective in increasing test performance for test anxious Ss, that EMG biofeedback does not contribute to the effectiveness of this procedure, and that self-report measures of anxiety are susceptible to a placebo effect. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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