Effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing on test anxiety


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was introduced (Shapiro, 1989) as a treatment for traumatic memories. The necessity of eye movements or another activating stimuli in the treatment of test anxiety and the effectiveness of EMDR as a treatment for test anxiety is the focus of the present study. This study screened subjects for adequate study skills and the presence of test anxiety, and randomly assigned 45 subjects to one of three conditions: EMDR, EMDR with no activating stimuli (EMDR/NS; eyes closed), and a no treatment control group. The results of this study suggest that EMDR and EMDR/NS were equally effective in treating test anxiety and more effective than the control group as measured by the Achievement Anxiety Test, the Emotionality scale of the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI), the Subjective Units of Disturbance scale, and the Validity of Cognition scale. Test performance and the Worry Scale of the TAI were not significantly impacted by the treatment groups. The inability of EMDR to impact the worry scale or the test performance of subjects in this study draws into question the usefulness of EMDR as a treatment of test anxiety.






Michael D. Johnson

Original Work Citation

Johnson, M. D. (1997, June). Effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing on test anxiety. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 57(12-B), 7730



“Effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing on test anxiety,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 23, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15452.

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