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Teacher acceptability of progressive muscle relaxation in the classroom for the treatment of test anxiety

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 April 2019

Patrick S. O’Donnell*
Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA
Linda L. Dunlap
Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Test anxiety is experienced by 10–40% of students. The physical symptoms associated with test anxiety may be more likely to be exhibited by elementary students. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) has been demonstrated to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety and could be used in the classroom, but teacher acceptability of PMR for test anxiety has not been assessed. This study used a vignette format to survey 404 first through fifth grade teachers on their acceptability of classroom-based PMR as an intervention for test anxiety. Good levels of acceptability were found for implementation with a school psychologist or counsellor, CD player, or digital music player. Special education teachers reported slightly lower levels of acceptability for using PMR in the digital music player scenario. With good levels of teacher acceptability of PMR to address test anxiety, school psychologists and counsellors may be more likely to recommend the use of PMR in classrooms. Implications for implementation of PMR to reduce test anxiety, study limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Cambridge University Press 

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