Presentation Title

The Effect of Meditation on Test Anxiety

Faculty Mentor

Barbara Thayer, Ph.D.

Start Date

18-11-2017 12:30 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 1:30 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 1

Session

Poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Anxiety disorders affect approximately 18% of adults in any given year. The average age of onset is 11, leaving some adolescents and young adults ill-equipped to cope with the stressful academic years of high school and college. In fact, nearly 40% of students report high or moderately-high levels of text anxiety. Some studies have shown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to be an effective tool for coping with anxiety, but others have not, which may indicate that MBSR is not effective for more trait-based anxiety. This study tested whether meditation, a component of the MBSR program, might be effective for managing more state-based anxiety, specifically test anxiety. It was hypothesized that participants experiencing a guided meditation before a test would experience a decrease in perceived stress and an increase in test scores. Participants in this study were presented with a timed test consisting of practice questions from the verbal portion of the GRE designed to elicit an unpleasant, anxious state. Participants rated their anxiety and then participated in a five-minute guided meditation followed by another series of practice questions from the GRE, after which they again rated their anxiety. Contrary to our hypothesis, the guided meditation did not reduce participants’ subjective experience of anxiety. However, test scores on the post-meditation test were significantly higher than on the pre-meditation test, suggesting that the reduction in state-based anxiety significantly increased the availability of cognitive resources despite participants’ perception of no change in anxiety levels. While MBSR may not successfully reduce more trait-based anxiety, meditation may be an effective tool to reduce state-anxiety.

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Nov 18th, 12:30 PM Nov 18th, 1:30 PM

The Effect of Meditation on Test Anxiety

BSC-Ursa Minor 1

Anxiety disorders affect approximately 18% of adults in any given year. The average age of onset is 11, leaving some adolescents and young adults ill-equipped to cope with the stressful academic years of high school and college. In fact, nearly 40% of students report high or moderately-high levels of text anxiety. Some studies have shown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to be an effective tool for coping with anxiety, but others have not, which may indicate that MBSR is not effective for more trait-based anxiety. This study tested whether meditation, a component of the MBSR program, might be effective for managing more state-based anxiety, specifically test anxiety. It was hypothesized that participants experiencing a guided meditation before a test would experience a decrease in perceived stress and an increase in test scores. Participants in this study were presented with a timed test consisting of practice questions from the verbal portion of the GRE designed to elicit an unpleasant, anxious state. Participants rated their anxiety and then participated in a five-minute guided meditation followed by another series of practice questions from the GRE, after which they again rated their anxiety. Contrary to our hypothesis, the guided meditation did not reduce participants’ subjective experience of anxiety. However, test scores on the post-meditation test were significantly higher than on the pre-meditation test, suggesting that the reduction in state-based anxiety significantly increased the availability of cognitive resources despite participants’ perception of no change in anxiety levels. While MBSR may not successfully reduce more trait-based anxiety, meditation may be an effective tool to reduce state-anxiety.