Electromyographic Biofeedback in the Densitization of Test Anxiety.
Interim rept. Oct 77-Oct 79,
FRANK J SEILER RESEARCH LAB UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY CO
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Systematic desensitization has only been irregularly effective in improving the performance of test-anxious subjects in evaluative situations. It was hypothesized that this attributable to insufficient levels of muscular relaxation obtained with verbal relaxation procedures and that electromyographic biofeedback would lead to deeper levels of relaxation and hence improved performance scores among test-anxious subjects. Interestingly, despite the theoretical centrality of physiological relaxation in desensitization, few studies have directly assessed actual physiological parameters. In the present study subjects received multiple sessions of electromyographic biofeedback of frontalis muscle tension as well as standardized systematic desensitization sessions. After treatment frontalis tension levels indicated that significant muscular relaxation was achieved. Also, test anxiety has significantly decreased in the treatment group. However, there had been no improvement on several performance measures relative to a no-treatment control group. These results are interpreted as casting doubt on the view that test anxiety is primarily a problem of physiological overarousal. Author