Efficacy of the eye movement desensitization procedure as compared to accelerated massed desensitization in the treatment of test anxiety
The Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) procedure had been widely promoted as an effective anxiety reducing treatment, yet the methodology of many studies has not been adequate to clearly investigate the procedure (Lohr, Kleinknecht, Conley, Dal Cerro, Schmidt, & Sonntag, 1992) and comparison treatments have been inappropriately applied (Lohr, Kleinknecht, Tolin & Barrett, 1995). This study compared EMDR and Accelerated Massed Desensitization (AMD), which has been empirically supported as a short term intervention in the treatment of test anxiety. All participants were screened for participation and 38 were determined test anxious, according to the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI; Spielberger, 1980). No subjects were involved in any form of relaxation training or taking any medications to reduce anxiety at the time of their participation. All participants were recruited from college and university classes in the Orange and San Bernardino counties and were paid $10 for their participation. Six therapists and the primary investigator conducted therapy sessions for both treatments. All therapists completed the EMDR training, completed relevant reading materials for the AMD procedure, and followed protocols for both procedures throughout the therapy sessions. Participants were randomly assigned to either the EMDR or AMD treatment condition and a therapist. Participants completed the state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, 1983) and the Subjective Units of Distress scale (SUD; Wolpe, 1982) measures at pre and post treatment and at pre and post in-class exam. Participants received two sessions of treatment for each of the conditions. This study hypothesized that the EMDR treatment would significantly reduce anxiety as measured by the STAI and the SUD as compared to the AMD treatment. This study also hypothesized that EMDR would significantly reduce anxiety in both treatment and in vivo settings. Supplementary hypotheses predicted that the AMD treatment would reduce anxiety in both the treatment and in vivo settings. Results indicated that students in the AMD condition experienced more anxiety reduction than students in the EMDR condition. However, both treatments were effective in reducing anxiety in both the treatment and in vivo setting, as measured by the STAI and SUD scales. These results suggest that both treatments may be effective for reducing anxiety. However, the AMD treatment led to greater reductions in anxiety, as compared to the EMDR treatment. It is suggested that further research of the EMDR procedure include suitable comparison groups in order to assess its effectiveness and allow clinicians to choose appropriate treatments based on empirical support.
Original Work Citation
Sellers, J. L. (1997, October). Efficacy of the eye movement desensitization procedure as compared to accelerated massed desensitization in the treatment of test anxiety. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 58(4-B), 2139
“Efficacy of the eye movement desensitization procedure as compared to accelerated massed desensitization in the treatment of test anxiety,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 18, 2019, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15457.