The implementation of a rational-emotive educational intervention for anxiety in a 3rd grade classroom: an analysis of relevant procedural and developmental constraints
Ioana-Alina CRISTEA, Oana BENGA, & Adrian OPRE
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
We tested the efficiency of a rational-emotive behavioral intervention to reduce the level of anxiety (emotional and behavioral) and remedy the irrational thinking in children (ages 9-10). The participants were 63 school-children (3 classes), boys and girls. They were initially evaluated with the Spence Anxiety Scale (for the general and specific anxiety level) and the CASI questionnaire (for the level of irrational beliefs). Their parents completed the Spence Anxiety Scale (parent version). There were 3 groups (classes): rational-emotive behavioral education (REBE), sham intervention (a Placebo type group), no intervention. The intervention lasted for 20 sessions and we assessed the level of irrational beliefs (CASI) and the general and specific anxiety (Spence Anxiety Scale) before and after the intervention. Results did not show a significant improvement of the REBE group compared to the others, neither in measures of anxiety, nor in those of irrationality. The level of REBE specific knowledge (tested with a knowledge questionnaire) after the intervention was significantly higher in the REBE group than in the other two groups. Parents’ evaluations differed from children’s own evaluations: they tended to overlook the existence or frequency of anxiety symptoms in their children. Possible implications and explanations are discussed. Implications envisage the efficiency of REBE in reducing the anxiety and irrational thinking of school-children and possible problems regarding its applications in the classroom.
Keywords: anxiety, children, rational-emotive behavioral education, irrational beliefs