Effectiveness of the Performance Anxiety Training “Schoolstress de Baas” on Adaptive Coping for Adolescents Aged 12-16, and the Moderating Effect of Social Support
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Previous studies targeting skills to deal with performance anxiety showed promising results for academic stress as well as for coping. Despite adaptive coping being associated with favorable outcomes, and adolescents reporting the highest amount of academic stress out of any age group, few studies have examined whether performance anxiety interventions predict the use of coping strategies in adolescents. The current study is a longitudinal quantitative study investigating both the effectiveness of a performance anxiety training on adaptive coping, as well as whether social support was a moderator. Firstly, it was hypothesized that the performance anxiety training would have a positive effect on adaptive coping. Secondly, it was hypothesized that social support would moderate the effect of the training on adaptive coping, in which higher social support would cause a stronger effect of the training on adaptive coping. A randomized controlled trial was performed with participants who were randomly allocated to intervention or wait-list control groups. The sample was made up of N = 231 adolescents from diverse educational levels and ethnic backgrounds. A simple regression and a multiple regression analysis have been carried out. Results showed that the intervention had (1) no significant effects on adaptive coping, and (2) social support did not moderate this effect. However, a trend significant negative effect was found for the intervention. It is important to further study this effect, since finding and removing harmful sections of the intervention can potentially prevent harm from being done. Suggestions for future research are discussed. The intervention “Schoolstress de baas” could be improved upon to help students navigate academic stress and performance anxiety more effectively.