Systematic desensitization and progressive relaxation: in the treatment of test anxious subjects who differ in levels of general anxiety

Systematic desensitization and progressive relaxation were compared as to their effectiveness in alleviating test anxiety, in improving examination performance, and in reducing general anxiety in test anxious college students. Sixty students served as Ss selected on the basis of high scores on Sarason's Test Anxiety Scale. All sixty students were evenly divided into high and low generally anxious groups by their initial scores on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. After completing the Test Anxiety Scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, these 60 high test anxious Ss were randomly assigned either to a systematic desensitization, a progressive relaxation, or a no treatment control group. All Ss were measured for test anxiety before and after treatments, and general anxiety (State) before, during and after treatments. It was found that low generally anxious systematically desensitized and progressively relaxed Ss significantly reduced their levels of test anxiety when compared to a no treatment control group. No significant differences in test anxiety were found between treatment and control groups for those Ss who were high in general anxiety. (See more in text.)