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Reducing Anxiety and Improving Academic Performance Through a Biofeedback Relaxation Training Program

Aitor Aritzeta, Goretti Soroa, Nekane Balluerka, Alexander Muela, Arantxa Gorostiaga, Jone Aliri

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback, Springer, June 16, 2017

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of a biofeedback relaxation training program on anxiety and academic performance. The program consisted of five biofeedback sessions coupled with three training activities focused on deep breathing, guided imagery, and muscle relaxation. The participants were second-year psychology undergraduates from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU, northern Spain). The experimental group comprised 152 students (Mage = 19.6, SD = 0.74; 74% women) and the control group 81 students (Mage = 19.4, SD = 0.92; 71% women). Results showed that after participating in the program, students in the experimental group had lower levels of anxiety and increased academic performance. Furthermore, they scored lower on anxiety and higher on academic performance in comparison with the control subjects. This suggests that the inclusion of biofeedback training programs in educational contexts could be a way of reducing anxiety and improving academic performance. It may also deepen our understanding of the dynamic interplay between psychophysiological, cognitive, and emotional processes.