Effect of rational emotive behavior therapy on stress management and irrational beliefs of special education teachers in Nigerian elementary schools

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Background/Objective:From a rational emotive behavior therapy viewpoint, stress-related disorders originate from irrational beliefs and self-defeating philosophies and attitude. Individuals affected by stress are different from those ones with neurotic problems mainly because the stressed individuals have irrational beliefs about specific, short-term, or more readily identifiable events, in contrast to the more mundane and diffuse difficulties faced by neurotic persons. The present study aimed to examine the impact of a rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) intervention on the stress levels and irrational beliefs among special education teachers in elementary schools in Nigeria.Methods:We employed a group randomized controlled trial design for this study. Eighty six participants recruited from elementary schools in the South-eastern part of the country were randomly assigned to either a treatment group (n = 43) or no-intervention control group (n = 43). We used the REBT Stress Management Manual to conduct the intervention. Stress levels and irrational beliefs were assessed using self-report questionnaires. Participants in the treatment group took part in the REBT program for 12 weeks and a follow-up program for 2 weeks. Analysis of the data was completed through a 2 × 3 within × between-subjects repeated measures analysis of variance, and independent samples t test.Results:Results showed that the REBT group experienced a significant mean decline in stress levels and their beliefs shifted to rational ones both at post-treatment and follow-up. In contrast, the participants in the no-intervention control group showed no improvements at either posttreatment or follow-up sessions.Conclusion:Rational-emotive behavior therapy is an effective therapeutic modality that can be applied by REBT clinicians for the management of stress. Additional clinical assessments will be necessary to further confirm the impact of an REBT intervention on teachers’ stress management and irrational beliefs in Nigerian elementary school setting.

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