Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Valentine, Jeffrey

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Bundy, Myra Beth

Committee Member

Bundy, Myra Beth

Committee Member

Immekus, Jason

Committee Member

Batley, Prathiba Natesan

Author's Keywords

meta-analysis; test anxiety; test performance; math anxiety


This systematic review and meta-analysis was designed to be a practitioner-focused review of the current research into interventions for the treatment of test anxiety. As testing continues to be a large part of students’ academic experiences and the stakes of that testing grow for students, teachers, and schools, there is a need for a synthesis of the literature to provide teachers and schools with some guidance on how best to help their students succeed. In this review, I describe the phenomenon of test anxiety and the current theoretical questions concerning the relationship between test anxiety and test performance. I also review prior syntheses of the test anxiety literature and describe why a new review is necessary. After a robust literature search and double screening all reports found, eligible studies were double coded. Forty-two effect sizes, nested in 23 studies, were eligible for this review and reported sufficient information to be included in the meta-analysis. I conducted tests for publication bias and assessments of internal validity. The overall meta-analytic mean effect size was 0.22 standard deviations. Planned moderation tests explored the heterogeneity of the research base. Substantial, though not statistically significant, differences in effect sizes were noted for the type of intervention/therapeutic approach used, test subject, and academic level of the sample. Overall, there are several limitations to the research base used in this meta-analysis. Underreporting of outcomes that were not statistically significant was common and studies often did not include basic information regarding the study sample. Approximately a third of the outcomes that met standards for inclusion in this review could not be included due to insufficient reporting of data needed to calculate an effect size. Additional problems related to the “light touch” approach of many interventions were also discussed, as was the seeming lack of theoretical foundations for some of the interventions. There is a need for additional research in this area to provide high-quality evidence of the effectiveness of test anxiety interventions on test performance.