The effect of Progressive Muscular Relaxation and EFT on test anxiety in high school students: A randomized controlled trial

Citation (APA Style): Sezgin, N., & Özcan, B. (2009). The effect of Progressive Muscular Relaxation and EFT on test anxiety in high school students: A randomized controlled trial. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 1(1), 23-30.


This study investigated the effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR) on test anxiety. A group of 312 high school students enrolled at a private academy were evaluated using the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI), which contains Worry and Emotionality subscales. Scores for 70 students demonstrated high levels of test anxiety; these students were randomized into control and experimental groups.

During a single treatment session, the control group received instruction in PMR and the experimental group in EFT, which was followed by self-treatment at home. After 2 months, subjects were retested using the TAI. Repeated covariance analysis was performed to determine the effects of EFT and PMR on the mean TAI score, as well as the 2 subscale scores. Each group completed a sample examination at the beginning and end of the study, and their mean scores were computed.

Thirty-two of the initial 70 subjects completed all the study’s requirements, and all statistical analyses were done on this group. A statistically significant decrease occurred in the test anxiety scores of both the experimental and control groups. The EFT group had a significantly greater decrease than the PMR group (p < .05). The scores of the EFT group were lower on the Emotionality and Worry subscales (p < .05). Both groups scored higher on the test examinations after treatment. Although the improvement was greater for the EFT group, the difference was not statistically significant.

Keywords: test anxiety, academic performance, high school students, worry, emotionality, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR).

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