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Clinical Trial Summary

Test Anxiety is a highly prevalent and impairing condition in adolescents (i.e., 9th to 12th grade students), significantly impacting on their mental health and well-being. Among Portuguese university students, test anxiety is the primary reason for seeking specialized psychological support, suggesting the importance of early intervention. Test anxiety associates to low self-compassion, acceptance and mindfulness, which have been increasingly acknowledged in literature as important processes to cultivate towards human experience and suffering, within intervention programs, particularly in adolescence, and in anxiety and fear of failure in academic settings. These processes are covered and enhanced within comprehensive models and evidence-based therapies that adopt an integrative, contextual and biopsychosocial approach, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), as well as an evolutionary approach, such as Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). These approaches focus on receiving internal events (e.g., thoughts, emotions, memories) in an accepting and compassionate way, as part of human experience, without changing them, while developing a sense of vitality, well-being and commitment to valued ends in life, instead of focusing solely or mainly on symptom reduction (although it is usually a consequent outcome). However, there are no empirically validated therapeutic programs for adolescents with test anxiety promoting these processes combined. ICT-based interventions are accessible, convenient, cost-effective and have been proved effective in reducing anxiety disorders' symptomatology. Even though there are some empirically validated online interventions for test anxiety in adolescents, having shown promising results, these were mainly self-help/module-based programs, without a clinician facilitating the intervention. This project aims to develop and implement a 12-week ICT-based targeted, facilitated and manualized individual intervention for adolescent students, developing compassion, acceptance and mindfulness, in order to help improve test anxiety's regulation (and consequently symptom reduction), as well as increase general and school-related well-being, while promoting valued life action.

Clinical Trial Description

All ethical and deontological requirements are guarenteed in this study. A sample of adolescent students (from 9th to 12th grade) is being online-recruited, through social media and contacts with Executive Boards of Portuguese secondary schools, private practices and study centers, advertising the study. Parents/legal guardians are encouraged to contact the team. From this approach, parents/legal guardians and respective adolescents who demonstrate interest are explained the aims and procedures of the study and asked to sign a written consent form. Adolescents are then assessed for eligibility through a test anxiety self-report measure and a clinical interview. Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to either an experimental group, who will reveive the intervention (facilitated by licenced psychotherapists with training in contextual therapies and are familiar with the intervention protocol), or a waiting-list control group, who will have access to the intervention after the six-month follow-up assessment. Both groups will complete a protocol with self-report measures, assessing psychopathology indicators, emotion regulation processes, and general and school-related well-being, in four different moments: at baseline (M0), immediatly after the intervention (M1), three months (M2) and six months (M3) after the intervention. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT04861116
Study type Interventional
Source University of Coimbra
Contact Cláudia P. Pires, M.Sc.
Phone 239 851 450
Email [email protected]
Status Recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date March 15, 2021
Completion date June 2023

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