Effectiveness of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in Reduction of Test Anxiety among Students with Learning Disabilities in Oyo State, Nigeria

By Uwakwe, Charles B. U.; Akanbi, Samuel Toyin | Ife Psychologia, September 2017 | Go to article overview

Effectiveness of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in Reduction of Test Anxiety among Students with Learning Disabilities in Oyo State, Nigeria


Uwakwe, Charles B. U., Akanbi, Samuel Toyin, Ife Psychologia


Introduction

Researchers who focused their studies on meeting the needs of people with learning disabilities concentrated their attention on the causative factors of learning disabilities and meeting their academic needs (Garderen, 2007). This perhaps might be due to the fact that deficiency in academic endeavours has been noted to be the hallmark of learning disabilities (Santrock, 2005). However, other disorders associated with learning disabilities which further frustrate the general well-being of the affected people such as in their career, daily routines, family life and their social aspects of life are not focused. Specifically, the emotional needs of people with learning disabilities have been a neglected area of research (Arthur, 2003). For instance, test anxiety which indeed has been suggested to be a common and potentially serious problem among students in general and well pronounced among people with learning disability to be specific has been widely neglected (Peleg, 2009).

Learning disabilities as a concept possesses diverse definitions. For instance, Kirk (1962) defines it as retardation, disorder or delayed development in one or more of the processes of speech, language, reading, writing, arithmetic or other school subjects resulting from a psychological handicap caused by a possible cerebral dysfunction and or behavioural disturbance. According to Kirk, learning disabilities is not as a result of mental retardation, sensory deprivation or cultural and instructional factor. Bateman (1965) opines that children who have learning disorders are those who manifest an educationally significant discrepancy between their estimated intellectual potentials and actual level of performances related to demonstrable central nervous system dysfunction, and which are secondary to generalised mental retardation, educational or cultural deprivation, severe emotional disturbance or sensory loss. American Psychiatric Association (2013) referred to the concept as a type of neurodevelopmental disorder that impedes the ability to learn or use specific academic skills such as reading, writing, or arithmetic which are the foundation for other academic learning (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

In order to prove the heterogeneous nature of learning disabilities, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder V (DSM V) identified three major types of learning disorder which are reading disorder (dyslexia): A neurological based, often familiar disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language; Mathematics disorder (Dyscalculia) defined as a discrepancy between the individual's general cognitive level and ability to comprehend and do mathematics (Mazzocco, 2005); and writing disorder ( Dysgraphia) which is conceptualized as handwriting problems, specifically partial inability to remember how to make certain alphabet or arithmetic symbols (Meese,2001). Among these disabilities in learning, dyslexia has been noted to be the most common (Perlstein, 2008). While it is possible for individuals to exhibit learning disabilities in only one domain, evidence equally abound of people manifesting clusters of disabilities which reflect underlying differences in neurological function (Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, 2005).

Test anxiety is one of the most undermining factors of schools and other settings where academic evaluation is performed (Birenbaum & Nasser, 1994). Indeed, among high school and college students, it is a common and potentially serious problem. It affects 10% to 30% of all students with a disproportionately higher prevalence among students with LD and minority students (Peleg, 2009). Test anxiety is viewed by Goonan (2003) as a specific type of psychological disorder which encompasses a vast amount of fear, worry, and fear of negative evaluation during or in anticipation of performance or evaluative situation. It is also described by Spielberger and Vagg (1995) as a situationspecific form of trait anxiety. …

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