Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Thomas Nicholson (Director), Dr. John B. White, Dr. Steve Nagy

Degree Program

Department of Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Public Health


Stress is an important feature of the lives of college students and can impact negatively on learning. The effectiveness of an in-class stress management intervention for improving course content retention was tested with a cross-over design in two introductory graduate biostatistics classes. Each class met one day per week for the duration of the semester, and was taught by the same instructor, following the same syllabus. A pretest duplicating items on the midterm and final exam was administered to all students at the first class meeting. Identical midterm and final exams were administered in both classes. During the first half of the semester, each class session in one section was preceded by a ten minute deep breathing stress management procedure (n = 30). During the second half of the semester this procedure was discontinued in the first section and implemented in the other section (n = 10). There were no significant differences by age, citizenship, or gender between the two sections of the course. Based on the statistical analyses between the two groups the study did not give a clear answer if stress management was effective in improving learning.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Psychology | Public Health