Presentation Title

The Effect of Stress on Reading Comprehension

Faculty Mentor

Barbara Thayer

Start Date

17-11-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 5:00 PM

Location

CREVELING 75

Session

POSTER 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Stress has been shown to affect cognitive functions including memory, retention, recall, and language acquisition. However, the literature is limited with regard to the effects of academic stress on learning and more specifically, on reading comprehension. This study investigates the effects of stress on reading comprehension among undergraduate students. Participants (n=23) in the study began by completing a demographic survey, as well as the Perceived Academic Stress scale (PAS). Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a control group with no treatment during a reading comprehension test, an experimental group that experienced a cold pressor (placing their hands in cold water for 1 minute) during the reading test, and an additional control group that experienced a non-stressor (warm water) during the reading. All groups completed the Nelson Denny Practice Reading Test (NDPRT) consisting of several reading passages followed by multiple choice questions testing the participants’ reading comprehension. In addition to the PAS scale and the NDPRT, physiological measures, such as the participants’ pulse rate, were taken throughout the entirety of the NDPRT to evaluate participants’ stress. It was predicted that participants in the stressor condition would score lower on the reading test, and those who scored higher on the PAS scale would also score lower on the NDPRT assessment. A one-way ANOVA was conducted to compare the effects of treatment condition on reading scores. There was no significant difference in reading comprehension scores on the NDPRT for the three conditions, p>0.05. Furthermore, scores on the PAS did not correlate with scores on the NDPRT, p>0.05. Understanding the relationship between academic stress and learning may suggest interventions that can help increase student success, and further investigation into a model of reading comprehension is warranted.

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Nov 17th, 3:00 PM Nov 17th, 5:00 PM

The Effect of Stress on Reading Comprehension

CREVELING 75

Stress has been shown to affect cognitive functions including memory, retention, recall, and language acquisition. However, the literature is limited with regard to the effects of academic stress on learning and more specifically, on reading comprehension. This study investigates the effects of stress on reading comprehension among undergraduate students. Participants (n=23) in the study began by completing a demographic survey, as well as the Perceived Academic Stress scale (PAS). Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a control group with no treatment during a reading comprehension test, an experimental group that experienced a cold pressor (placing their hands in cold water for 1 minute) during the reading test, and an additional control group that experienced a non-stressor (warm water) during the reading. All groups completed the Nelson Denny Practice Reading Test (NDPRT) consisting of several reading passages followed by multiple choice questions testing the participants’ reading comprehension. In addition to the PAS scale and the NDPRT, physiological measures, such as the participants’ pulse rate, were taken throughout the entirety of the NDPRT to evaluate participants’ stress. It was predicted that participants in the stressor condition would score lower on the reading test, and those who scored higher on the PAS scale would also score lower on the NDPRT assessment. A one-way ANOVA was conducted to compare the effects of treatment condition on reading scores. There was no significant difference in reading comprehension scores on the NDPRT for the three conditions, p>0.05. Furthermore, scores on the PAS did not correlate with scores on the NDPRT, p>0.05. Understanding the relationship between academic stress and learning may suggest interventions that can help increase student success, and further investigation into a model of reading comprehension is warranted.