Can lavender aromatherapy help pupils reduce anxiety in tests?


Research Paper (postgraduate), 2019
15 Pages

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Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Literature Review

3. Research Questions

4. Scope and Limitations

5. Methods

6. Sampling

7. Data Collection

8. Data Analysis

9. Results and Discussion

10. Summary of Findings

11. Conclusions

12. Recommendations

13. References

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to innovate pedagogical strategy in the K-12 curriculum by determining the effect of aromatherapy using lavender oil in reducing math anxiety before and during math problem solving activity among Grade 11 students in the General Academic Track. The experimental group was confined in an airconditioned room with three pieces of aroma humidifier to centralize the effect of lavender oil placed in strategic airflow ends. The experimental group was exposed in an hour inside the classroom during their math problem solving activity. The control group was given the same math problems simultaneously without lavender aromatherapy in a separate building. The 30 item Math Anxiety Scale was pilot tested among 178 students with a Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.89. The mean difference on the level of math anxiety of the experimental group before the treatment is relatively higher (MD=3.92174) than the level of their math anxiety after the treatment (MD=2.565). The significance (2 tailed) p=.001 reveals that the lavender aromatherapy has a significant effect in reducing math anxiety. It may also help the students to perform better in other related subjects causing them anxiety.

Key words: logico-mathematical intelligence, lavender oil, humidifier.

1. Introduction

Of all the subjects offered in the Grade 11 curriculum, General Mathematics is the least liked (Manapsal, 2018) by the students most especially during quizzes and periodical examinations, hence, they developed math anxiety. Anxiety, whether it is psychological or physiological should be properly addressed to help oneself to go back to normal state in the fastest mode. Sadly, most people in the West who suffer from anxiety either do nothing or resort to pharmaceutical drugs – many of which are ineffective and capable of destroying one’s health and sanity further. Commonly prescribed drugs include benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan, Xanax, and Valium which may have negative side effects for long term use. Since, anti-anxiety drugs cannot be bought over the counter, medical prescription is needed, and students in the public schools may not prioritize treating anxiety for economic reasons. They would usually tolerate anxiety and become normal part of their stressful academic life.

However, this study explored the fastest and safest alternative method to reduce anxiety which is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy or so called “alternative medicine” is the medical use of pure essential oils that are extracted from medicinal plants or flowers (Price & Price, 2000). Aromatherapy can be done by 1. indirect inhalation of essential oils using a room diffuser;2. direct inhalation of essential oils using an individual inhaler with drops floated on top of hot; 3. aroma therapeutic massage, in which essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil and massaged into one’s skin; or 4. applying essential oils to skin by combining them with lotion, bath salts or skin softener and others.

Research studies claim the positive effects of essential oils for a variety of health concerns both physical and psychological aspects including infections, pain, tumors, premenstrual syndrome, nausea, anxiety, depression and many others. However, studies on aromatherapy from natural plant/ flower substances is not supported much by funding agency because there is little motivation for these companies that their products cannot easily be patented, limiting their potential for profitable gains. Furthermore, research review boards tend to approve research studies that follow the more usual scientific research path. Another thing, the mindset to alternative medicine is still suspended due to several factors and not open to global market. In addition, essential oils are composed of hundreds of chemical constituents, and it is hard to determine which ones may have produced the desired effect. Thus, essential oils studies can be very challenging. Despite these challenges, the researcher is inspired by other studies that also attempted to use aromatherapy and combines to research in medicines and other disease problems such as using aromatherapy to person with dementia (Holmes & Ballard, 2004) cancer (Wilcock, 2004) and chronic pain (Buckle, J. 1999). The researcher firmly adheres to science but recognizes the hard fact evidences of aromatherapy to almost all kinds of pain either physical or psychological because the application of plant essential oils in aromatherapy has been recorded for thousands of years, and knowledge of the distillation and application of essential oils to improve general well-being and specific health problems was introduced into Europe as early as the 10th century (Holmes & Ballard, 2004) much earlier than ancient Asian civilization. Hence, this study is pursued despite these challenges.

2. Literature Review

Essential oils contain active and highly concentrated plant essences and treating anxiety with essential oils offer quick results. According to a study conducted by scientists at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Vienna, Germany, the healing compounds in essential oils can be found in the bloodstream as quickly as five minutes after skin application (http://www.naturallivingideas.com/anxiety-and-essential-oils/). While essential oils can be used topically, aromatherapy, or the inhaling of essential oils, is the most powerful way to treat anxiety.

In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, first published in the International Journal of Neuroscience , researchers assessed the effect of lavender and rosemary on alertness, mood and the brain’s electrical activity, and on subjects’ ability to perform math computations (Diego et., al., 1998).

Pharmaceutical drugs like benzodiazepine and other anti-anxiety drugs for treating patients with generalized and persistent anxiety is also accompanied by nervousness. Unfortunately, these drugs can cause fatigue and have the potential to be abused or overdosed - hence, the demand for natural and safe alternative medicine like lavender is increasing. While there are not many studies on lavender flower or its oil, most studies show a positive correlation between the use of lavender and anxiety relief in patients (http://www.naturalhealth365.com/0878_lavender_oil-html.html/).

Lavender is reported to be an effective medical plant in treating inflammation, depression, stress and mild anxiety in Europe and the USA (Hritcu, Cioanca, & Hancianu, 2012). A 2012 study that investigated the effects of lavender oil on the brain’s activity – including nerve and mood response in humans – revealed the positive effects of lavender (Sayorwan, et. al., 2012). The participants of the study were grouped into two, one group inhaled lavender oil, while the other used a ‘base oil’ (Sayorwan et al., 2012).

The results of their study are of significance because the researchers measured parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature to arrive at a conclusion. Subjects that inhaled lavender oil showed a marked drop in their blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature indicating a decrease of autonomic arousal (Woelk, H. & Schläfke, 2010).

3. Research Questions

This study sought to answer the following questions:

1. What is the level of math anxiety during the pre-experiment between the control and the experimental group
2. What is the profile of the control and the experimental group in terms of the following aspect:
2.1. age;
2.2. gender;
2.3. favorite subject;
2.4. dominant multiple intelligence;
2.5. general average in Math;
2.6. test score in Math?
3. Is there a significant difference in gender in terms on the level of math anxiety?
4. Is there a significant difference on the level of math anxiety before and after the lavender aromatherapy among the experimental group?
5. Does lavender oil have significant effect to reduce math anxiety of students during math problem solving activity?
6. Based on the findings of the study, what other interventions or variations of aromatherapy could be implemented to reduce math anxiety and improve test scores?

4. Scope and Limitations

This study aimed to determine the effect of aromatherapy using lavender oil in reducing math anxiety of students before and during math problem solving activity among the experimental group. Others oil used in aromatherapy did not give in the trial because in the literature, it was found that among the essential oils, lavender was found to be the most effective medical plant in treating inflammation, depression, stress and mild anxiety in Europe and the USA. (Hritcu, et. al., 2012). There are various essentials oils in the market, but this study uses lavender oil (lavandula angustifolia herb extract) as it was known to treat anxiety. The particular brand of Good Scents was used because the substance is generally recognized as 100 percent pure essential oil concentrated, safe and regulated by the FDA with N1 Micro-guard antibacteria agents whcih effectively kills disease causing germs and improves air hygience. It is use as air-revitalisor, ultrasoci humidifier, oil burner, electric diffuser and air purifier

5. Methods

The ethical concerns were addressed in the study. The purpose of the research was thoroughly explained how they would benefit from the study towards innovative pedagogical strtegy in learning Mathematics. There were no risks and discomforts involved in the study. The schedule of the trial or experiment was carefully planned and organized according to the availability of the participants. Strict confidentiality of the respondents was implemented. The respondents voluntarily participated in the study. It was thoroughly explained that anytime they wish to withdraw they are free to do so anytime and in any day.

6. Sampling

The respondents were Grade 11 students enrolled in the first grading period of School Year 2nd semester 2017-2018 at Francisco Osorio National High School under General Academic Strand (GAS) since it is the only track offered by the school. A total of 73 Grade 11 students were given Math Anxiety Scale (Cronbach alpha of .95) and selected only those students who have high level of anxiety scores between 3.40-4.19. They were distributed equally into two groups: the experimental group and the control group. Each group has 23 students, a total of 46 students.

7. Data Collection

The instruments used to measure Math Anxiety Scale (MAS) and dominant Multiple Intelligence was developed and established its validity and reliability. Below is the data showing dimensions of multiple intelligence, the number of its items (10-item each, a total of 90) the mean, its variance, standard deviation and the Cronbach Alpha based on standardized test given in a total enumeration of 73 population.

The 30 item one dimensional Math Anxiety Scale was pilot tested to 178 students with a Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.89. It was repeated among 74 students and the computed Cronbach alpha was .95 which means that the items are good.

Meanwhile the 90-item Multiple Intelligence Scale was pilot tested among 150 college students and Cronbach’s alpha is .90 which indicates that the items are good. It was repeated to 74 Grade 11 students and the computed Cronbach ‘s Alpha is .95 based on standardized items as seen on Table 1.

Table 1. Cronbach’s Alpha based on standardized items

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

8. Data Analysis

The result of the Math Anxiety Scale was scored, tallied and interpreted using descriptive statistics. Only those who have a high math anxiety became part of the study. Then, the respondents’ profile was analyzed with the used of SPSS. Then the test scores and math anxiety level from the experimental group and control group were compared whether aromatherapy has a significant effect to reduce math anxiety.

Participants were confined in an airconditioned room with three pieces of aroma humidifier to centralize the effect of lavender oil placed in strategic airflow ends. The experimental group was exposed at least one hour in the room during the math problem solving activity. However, the control group was given the same math problems simultaneously without lavender aromatherapy in a separate ventilated room.

9. Results and Discussion

The following data below presents the profile of the respondents and answers the research questions.

Table 2. Level of Math Anxiety during pre-experiment between two groups.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 2 shows that out of 73 enrollees in Grade 11, 46 of them got a high level of Math anxiety (M=3.69; Variance= 0.198; SD= 0.44520) before the lavender aromatherapy was introduced. It indicates one factor why students have difficulty in solving math problems. High level of anxiety in solving math problems can either cognitive or an emotional factor.

Table 3 Frequency Distribution of Age

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Table 3 shows the frequency distribution of age of the respondents. Most Grade 11 are 16 years of age which is 23 or 50%; the 16 or 34.8 % are those whose age is 17. Only 7 or 15.2% whose age is 18.

Table 4. Frequency Distribution in terms of Gender

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Table 4 shows that out of 46 respondents with high level of anxiety, females outnumbered males which is 28 or 60.90%, while males are only 18 or 39.10%.

Table 5 Mean Comparison of Gender in terms of the level of Math Anxiety

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Table 5 shows that males (N=18) have a higher level of Math anxiety (M= 3.9556, SD=.51589) compared to females (N=28, M=3.5286, SD=.29796). This result contradicts the finding of Yeo, W.L., Tan, C.K. & Lew, S.L (2015) which statesthat there was no significant difference of anxiety level among the gender, thus there was no relationship between the math anxiety level with the gender.

Table 6 Favorite Subject of Grade 11 students

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Table 6 shows that English / Literature is ranked 1 among the favorite subjects offered in senior high school with 14 or 30.4 % of the 46 students with high level of anxiety in Math. It was followed by Science and Social Science scored 7 or 15.2 %. Information and Communication Technology or ICT is ranked 4 with 6 or 13.0%. Meanwhile, Research is ranked 5 with 4 or 8.7% followed by Personal Development with 3 or 6.5%. Filipino and Contemporary Arts were both ranked 7 with 2 or 14.3% and apparently, Mathematics is the least favorite subjects of the students.

Table 7 The dominant multiple intelligence of Grade 11 students

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Table 7 shows that the perceived dominant intelligence of the students based on the Multiple Intelligence Scale is the logical-mathematical with (M=3.21, SD= .561, Variance=.316) which is rank 1 among 46 students who were found to have high level of anxiety in Math. It is expected that they would score high in Linguistics which is only ranked 9 (Mean=2.75, SD= .597, Variance=.357) when in fact, it was reported that it is their most favorite subject as shown in Table 6. The result shows incoherence that other factors may be considered such as teachers strategy and the style of the delivery of the lesson. Ranked 2 is the musical intelligence (M=3.12, SD=.511, Variance=.261) followed by intrapersonal (M=3.10, SD=.618, Variance=.382) or the ability to deal with one self. Ranked 4 is the interpersonal intelligence (M=2.94, SD.608), Variance=.370) or the ability to establish good relationship with others. Kinesthetic Intelligence or excellence in motor skills and coordination was ranked 5 (M=2.90, SD=.70301, Variance=.494) followed by Naturalistic intelligence (M=2.8109, SD=.51866, Variance=.58166) or those with high sensitivity to nature and can relate to natural surroundings. Existential intelligence (M=2.7935, SD=.60714, Variance=.369) was ranked 7 followed by Visio-Spatial.

Table 8 The general average of the respondents in Math

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In Table 8, the respondents show general average of 85.3 (SD=4.968, Variance 24.68) in Math class. The 46 samples under control and experimental group are mixtures of high performing and average performing students. It can be taken into consideration that these students under General Academic Strand considered Math as one of the competitive subjects that requires accurate competency.

Table 9 Test scores of the experimental and the control group

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Table 9 shows the test result (with a total of 50 points) of the experimental group scores higher (M=24.7391, SD=3.42739, Variance= 11.747) than the score (M=19.34478, SD=5.77305, Variance=33.328) of the control group who were given treatment or the lavender aromatherapy. It can be noted that the treatment can affect the test scores. The mind can think properly when it is relaxed, or the level of anxiety is lower. In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, first published in the International Journal of Neuroscience , researchers assessed the effect of lavender and rosemary on alertness, mood and the brain’s electrical activity, and on subjects’ ability to perform math computations (Diego et., al., 1998).

Table 10 Test score difference between the experimental and the control group

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Legend: VI-Verbal Interpretation

The Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances tests whether variability within each group (with lavender aromatherapy and without lavender aromatherapy) is equal. In Table 10, the t test for Equality of Means displays the t value (3.851), the df or degrees of freedom (44). The p- value is .001which is lower than .05 so group variances are assumed to be equal. It suggests that there is significant difference in the test scores between the experimental group (with lavender aromatherapy) and the control group (without lavender aromatherapy). It also suggests that lavender aromatherapy can have a significant affect in students’ performance in math problem solving skill.

Table 11 One sample t-test of math anxiety before and after the treatment

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Legend: VI-Verbal Interpretation

Table 11 shows that the mean difference on the level of math anxiety of the experimental group before the treatment is relatively higher (MD=3.92174) than the level of their math anxiety after the treatment (MD=2.56522). the Significance (2 tailed) p=.001 is lower than .05 suggests that the lavender aromatherapy has a significant effect in reducing the level of math anxiety. This study is supported by Hritcu, Cioanca, and Hancianu, (2012) that the lavender is reported to be an effective medical plant in treating inflammation, depression, stress and mild anxiety in Europe and the USA.

10. Summary of Findings

The findings of the study are summarized below:

1. Among Grade 11 GAS students, 46 of them got a high level of Math anxiety (M=3.69; Variance= 0.198; SD= 0.44520) whose age is 16 years of age (23 or 50%); 17 (16 or 34.8 %) and Only 7 or 15.2% whose age is 18.
2. Males (N=18) have a higher level of Math anxiety (M= 3.9556, SD=.51589) compared to Females (N=28, M=3.5286, SD=.29796)
3. English / Literature is ranked 1 among the favorite subjects offered in senior high school with 14 or 30.4 % of the 46 students with high level of anxiety in Math. It was followed by Science and Social Science scored 7 or 15.2 %. Information and Communication Technology or ICT is ranked 4 with 6 or 13.0%. Meanwhile, Research is ranked 5 with 4 or 8.7% followed by Personal Development with 3 or 6.5%. Filipino and Contemporary Arts were both ranked 7 with 2 or 14.3% and Mathematics is the least favorite subjects of the students.
4. The dominant intelligence of the students based on the Multiple Intelligence Scale is the logical-mathematical with (M=3.21, SD= .561, Variance=.316) which is rank 1. Ranked 2 is the musical intelligence (M=3.12, SD=.511, Variance=.261) followed by intrapersonal (M=3.10, SD=.618, Variance=.382) or the ability to deal with one self. Ranked 4 is the interpersonal intelligence (M=2.94, SD.608), Variance=.370) or the ability to establish good relationship with others. Kinesthetic Intelligence or excellence in motor skills and coordination was ranked 5 (M=2.90, SD=.70301, Variance= .494) followed by Naturalistic intelligence (M=2.8109, SD=.51866, Variance=.58166) or those with high sensitivity to nature and can relate to natural surrounding. Existential intelligence (M=2.7935, SD=.60714, Variance=.369) was ranked 7 followed by Visio Spatial.
5. The respondents obtained a general average of 85.3 (SD=4.968, Variance 24.68) in Math class. The test scores (with a total of 50 points) shows that the experimental group scores higher (M=24.7391, SD=3.42739, Variance= 11.747) than the control group (M=19.34478, SD=5.77305, Variance=33.328) who were not given treatment or the lavender aromatherapy.
6. There is significant difference in the test scores between the experimental group (with lavender aromatherapy) and the control group (without lavender aromatherapy). It also suggests that lavender aromatherapy can have a significant affect in students’ performance in math problem solving skill.
7. The mean difference on the level of math anxiety of the experimental group before the treatment is relatively higher (MD=3.92174) than the level of their math anxiety after the treatment (MD=2.56522). The Significance (2 tailed) p=001 is lower than .005 suggests that the lavender aromatherapy has a significant effect in reducing the level of math anxiety.

11. Conclusions

Based on the results of the study, the following conclusions were made:

1. As early as 16 years of age, students can have high level of anxiety pertaining to math performances and males are more vulnerable to experience anxiety.
2. Mathematics is the least like subjects, it may be due to the competency requires accuracy and to get high score or general average is causing anxiety especially when group of students are high performing. Most of the high performing student perceive themselves to be logical-mathematically intelligent and yet most of them least like mathematics. Likewise, English/ Literature was reported to be the most favorite subject but the students did not score high in linguistic intelligence. It can be concluded that our intelligence in specific area not does not rely in our favorites or interest.
3. The self-perceived mathematics anxiety is pre-existed even before the conduct of the experiment that suggests a behavioral or attitudinal pattern of individual causing a person to score high or low depending on one’s emotional state of the mind. It can be concluded that there must be an intervention to reduce anxiety level before one can perform higher in math problem solving.
4. The lavender aromatherapy can be an effective means to reduce anxiety to improve math performance. It can also be concluded that if lavender therapy can improve math test scores, it may also help the students to perform better in other related subjects causing them anxiety.

12. Recommendations

Based on the result of the study, the following recommendations were made:

1. The number of trials in comparing means of test scores among the experimental group can be increased to at least 5 times to saturate the data.
2. Other means to measure math anxiety is not limited to self-perceived or self-assessed math anxiety. Physiobiological conditions may also consider such as heartbeat or pulse beat per minute, blood pressure, skin temperature and the like to further attest to math anxiety before and during math problem solving.
3. Other factors related to math anxiety can be studied such as math self-efficacy, math self-regulation, motivation to math performance, differentiated instruction to learn math and many others.
4. Lavender aromatherapy may be recommended to be used in classroom temperature that are not properly ventilated. Since it is causing humidity and purifies air, it can be beneficial to those students with allergy to dirt. This can also be an alternative to an air-conditioned room.
5. The Department of Education may summon the Mathematics experts in an International/National Conference or training and encourage them to develop a standardized intervention, module or instructional materials to cater both the high performing and low performing students with increasing level of competencies in mathematical- specific operations most especially the critical content. There is also a need to raise more research fund to increase the number of math experts who would adhere to mathematics excellence division wide/ nationwide.

13. References

Aromatherapy’s Effect on Moods and Minds https://www.massagemag.com/magazine-2000-issue85-research85-24137/ Retrieved October 22, 2016.

Buckle, J. (1999) Use of aromatherapy as a complementary treatment for chronic pain Alternative Therapies in Health and MedicineAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten5: 5Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten: 42-51.

Bowman, C. How To Treat Anxiety With Essential Oils: 12 Experts Reveal Their Secrets (http://www.naturallivingideas.com/anxiety-and-essential-oils/). June 8, 2015.

Diego, M.A, Jones, N.A, Field, T. Hernandez-Reif. M, Schanberg, S. Kuhn, C. cAdam, V.Galamaga, R.Galamaga, M. (1998). Aromatherapy positively affects mood, EEG patterns of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience. 1998 (3-4):217-24

Holm, L.; Fitzmaurice, L. (2008) Emergency Department Waiting Room Stress: Can Music or Aromatherapy improve Anxiety Scores?Pediatric Emergency Care:Vol 24:12: pp 836-838doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31818ea04c

Holmes C.& Ballard C. (2004) Aromatherapy in dementia. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, vol. 10, 296–300.

Hritcu, L. Cioanca, O. & Hancianu, M. (2012) Effects of lavender oil inhalation on improving scopolamine-induced spatial memory impairment in laboratory rats. Phytomedicine. 2012 Apr 15;19(6):529-34. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.02.002. Epub

Manapsal, JP (2018). Factors of Undecidability In Career Choices of Grade 11 General Academic Track Students. Basis for Career Decision-Making Program. Munich: GRIN Verlag.

Price, S. & Price, L. (2000) Aromatherapy for Health Professionals (2nd ed). London: Churchill Livingstone.

Sayorwan, W, Siripornpanich, V Piriyapunyaporn, T. Hongratanaworakit, T. Kotchabhakdi, N. Ruangrungsi, N. (2012) The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system and brain electrical activity. J Med Assoc Thai 2012 95(4):598-606.

What Does the Research Say About Essential Oils? http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/what-does-research-say-about-essential-oils. Retrieved October 25, 2016.

Wilcock A. et. al. (2004). Does aromatherapy massage benefit patients with cancer attending a specialist palliative care day centre? Palliat Med 18: 287-290.

Woelk, H. &Schläfke, (2010) S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine 17(2):94 – 99.

Yeo, W.L., Tan, C.K. & Lew, S.L (2015). Mathematics Anxiety among Male and Female Student. International Journal of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences Vol:9, No:8

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Details

Title
Can lavender aromatherapy help pupils reduce anxiety in tests?
College
Department of teacher education
Author
Year
2019
Pages
15
Catalog Number
V462396
ISBN (Book)
9783668909083
Language
English
Quote paper
Josephine P. Manapsal (Author), 2019, Can lavender aromatherapy help pupils reduce anxiety in tests?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/462396

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