Biofeedback-assisted relaxation training to decrease test anxiety in nursing students

Nurs Educ Perspect. Mar-Apr 2013;34(2):76-81. doi: 10.5480/1536-5026-34.2.76.


Background: Nursing students experiencing debilitating test anxiety may be unable to demonstrate their knowledge and have potential for poor academic performance.

Method: A biofeedback-assisted relaxation training program was created to reduce test anxiety. Anxiety was measured using Spielberger's Test Anxiety Inventory and monitoring peripheral skin temperature, pulse, and respiration rates during the training. Participants were introduced to diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and autogenic training.

Results: Statistically significant changes occurred in respiratory rates and skin temperatures during the diaphragmatic breathing session; respiratory rates and peripheral skin temperatures during progressive muscle relaxation session; respiratory and pulse rates, and peripheral skin temperatures during the autogenic sessions. No statistically significant difference was noted between the first and second TAI. Subjective test anxiety scores of the students did not decrease by the end of training.

Conclusion: Autogenic training session was most effective in showing a statistically significant change in decreased respiratory and pulse rates and increased peripheral skin temperature.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Autogenic Training / methods
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Test Anxiety Scale*
  • Young Adult