• Evaluation of a web-based self-compassion intervention to reduce student assessment anxiety.

      McEwan, Kirsten; Elander, James; Gilbert, Paul; University of Derby (Rivera Open, 2018-05-04)
      Assessment anxiety is associated with excessive worry and cognitive disruption which can contribute to academic failure. Compassion-focused interventions have previously been effective in reducing anxiety, stress and depression among the general population. Aims: This study extended this approach to students whose academic achievement is potentially compromised by assessment anxiety, by evaluating a web-based compassionate imagery intervention. Students (n=48) who self-identified as assessment anxious were randomised to practice either compassionate imagery exercises or to a control condition of practicing relaxation exercises. Students completed measures of test anxiety, mastery and performance learning goals, self-compassion, self-criticism/self-reassurance, depression, anxiety and stress, before and after the two-week intervention. The compassionate imagery exercises improved self-compassion more than the control condition of relaxation exercises did. Both tasks improved students’ wellbeing, and reduced assessment anxiety among those with higher baseline assessment anxiety. Web-based compassionate imagery and relaxation may offer cost-effective interventions for reducing assessment anxiety. More research is needed on the influence of self-compassion on learning processes and academic performance and achievement.