Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose or this study was (1) to investigate the relationship or anxiety and reading improvement, (2) to determine whether a consistent therapeutic approach can effect a reduction in manifest anxiety, and (3) to compare the effectiveness of group and individual counseling in (a) the reduction of manifest anxiety and (b) reading improvement.

Subjects for the study were forty-five school students in grades eight and nine attending a public junior high school. The sample selected consisted or those students in remedial reading classes who were determined to be "high anxious” according to their scores on the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (CMAS) and whose reading ability was retarded three or more grade levels according to the California Standardized Reading Achievement Test.

The forty-five students were randomly divided into three groups or fifteen. The two treatment groups received Goodstein's verbal desensitization procedure. One involved individual counseling, and the other consisted or group counseling techniques. The control group received placebo counseling. There were twelve counseling sessions, one each week for a period of forty-five minutes.

Pre- and post-testing were done with (1) the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale, (2) Nelson Reading Achievement Test, and (3) a rating scale of observable clinical manifestations of anxiety.

The t-test tor significance of difference between means was used to test each group's pre- and post-test data on the (1) CMAS, (2) total reading score, (3) vocabulary, (4) paragraph meaning, and (5) overt anxiety scale. The Pearson product-moment method was used to compute correlations for both pre- and post-tests between (1) CMAS and IQ, (2) CMAS and vocabulary, (3) CMAS and paragraph meaning, (4) CMAS and total reading score, (5) vocabulary and IQ, (6) paragraph meaning and IQ and (7) total reading score and IQ. The significance level tor rejecting the five null hypotheses was .05.

Individual counseling using Goodstein’s verbal desensitization was significantly effective in reducing CMAS scores while also significantly improving vocabulary and total reading scores. There was no significant improvement in paragraph meaning score for any group. The group receiving group counseling showed no significant improvement in any reading score or anxiety. Control (placebo) group showed significant improvement only in total reading score. Correlations were significant and positive for only (1) CMAS vs. total reading, (2) CMAS vs. total reading, (2) CMAS vs. vocabulary and (3) CMAS vs. paragraph meaning, pre-test data only. All other correlations were not significant.

The results of this study support the recommendation that counseling should be used by schools as an adjunct to remedial reading programs.

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

George Leonard Keppers

Second Committee Member

Louis Charles Bernardoni

Third Committee Member

Robert Harold White