Date of Award

Summer 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Nina W. Brown

Committee Member

Radha Horton-Parker

Committee Member

Steve Myran


As the nation strives to reach the goal of 100% proficiency in reading and math in under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requirements, students may experience increased pressure to perform better on examinations. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a short term expressive writing intervention and a psychoeducational intervention on general, test, and math anxieties, physical and attendance, and test scores of ninth through eleventh grade adolescents attending two rural public high schools. Participants (N=58) consisted of adolescents in three intact Algebra I classes which were assigned to write about neutral topics during three classroom sessions (first experimental group) (n=24), participate in a psychoeducational presentation during one classroom session (second experimental group) (n=18), or receive regular classroom instruction (control group) (n=16). At baseline and six weeks after writing, physical symptoms, levels of anxiety, attendance, and test scores were assessed. No statistically significant relationship was found between the experimental and control groups over time. However, when all of the participants were viewed as one population, some significant differences occurred which may have reduced levels of math anxiety and improved math exam scores for the Algebra I population as a whole.