Anxiety problems are among the most common emotional difficulties youths experience, and are often linked to exposure to disasters.
“Test anxiety interventions may be a practical strategy for conducting emotion-focused prevention and intervention efforts because of a natural fit within the ecology of the school setting,” said Carl Weems of University of New Orleans, US.
Showing students how to cope with test anxiety might also help them to handle their built-up angst and fretfulness about other issues.
“Anxiety intervention programmes that focus on academic matters fit well into the demands of the school routine, and do not carry the same stigma among youth as general anxiety programmes do,” Weems noted.
The research group was among the first to study the effects of Hurricane Katrina on community mental health and anxiety among youth.
However, school-based test anxiety interventions should not be considered a first line approach to treating severe anxiety disorders such as PTSD, but could be employed to teach students how to handle anxious emotions, Weems cautioned.
The study appeared in the journal Prevention Science.