Effects of Deep Pressure Touch on Test Anxiety/Performance of Academically at-Risk Student Physical Therapist

Background and Purpose: According to the American Test Anxieties Association, approximately 36% of students have “severe,” “high,” or “moderately high” test anxiety. Testing is a routine measure and can have important outcomes tied to its results, such as, student passing to next grade level, student ability to graduate, and student entering desired profession. Students in the health professions, including Doctor of Physical Therapy students, have been noted to have increased levels of anxiety as they experience the daily challenges and academic rigor of their programs. Research has shown that deep pressure touch reduces anxiety and has a calming effect on its users. Therefore, the purpose of this case report is to determine the effects of deep pressure touch on test anxiety and subsequently, test performance of a first-year, academically at-risk, physical therapy student. Case Description: The participant was a 22-year-old Caucasian female in her second semester of her first year in a CAPTE accredited doctorate of physical therapy program. She was identified as at-risk academically at the end of her first semester of physical therapy school, and self-reported high anxiety with testing. Outcomes: A decrease in anxiety as measured with the Westside Test Anxiety Scale, a decrease in heart rate measurements, and increases in exam percentile rankings were recorded throughout the intervention period, indicating decreased test anxiety and improved academic performance. Discussion: This case reports suggest that deep pressure touch could be considered as a potential option in the reduction of test anxiety and subsequent improvement in academic performance.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 21824
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM 2020
  • Authors: Tricia Widenhoefer
  • Keywords:

BACK to Abstract Results