Boath, E. H., Stewart, A., & Carryer, A. (2013). Is Emotional Freedom Techniques generalizable? Comparing effects in sport science students vs. complementary therapy students. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 5(2). doi: 10.9769.EPJ.2013.5.5.EB.AC.as.su
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Previous research has shown Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to be effective in reducing presentation anxiety in student populations. Generalizability is a critical issue in research, and this study compared whether EFT is as effective in a cohort of younger, predominantly male students undertaking a sports science degree as in a cohort of all female, predominantly older complementary therapy students undertaking a foundation degree in complementary therapy.
Two convenience samples of students were used. A cohort of students undertaking a foundation degree in complementary therapy (also known as CAM or Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and a cohort of students undertaking a sports science degree were informed of the research and invited to give their informed consent. Those who agreed were given a 15-min assignment workshop outlining the requirements for their assessed presentation by their module leads (authors Carryer and Boath).
Table 1 shows the sociodemographic details of each student cohort. There was a significant difference in gender and age between the two cohorts of students. Men were predominant in the sports science degree group, whereas the complementary therapy group were all women. Complementary therapy students were also significantly older.
This study demonstrates that EFT is effective in reducing presentation anxiety in cohorts of students regardless of age or gender. The findings are remarkably similar to previous research (Boath et al., 2012a, 2012b, 2013). The results demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in anxiety level for both cohorts of students, as well as a clinically significant reduction in anxiety for the sports science students.
This study explored the concept of generalizability, which is to ask the question, can EFT be effective (in this case to reduce presentation anxiety) in different subsets of populations. The experiment compared a group of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) students (all women and significantly older) against Sports Science degree students (predominantly male and significantly younger). The study showed a statistically significant decrease of presentation anxiety in both cohorts.