Student Author Information

Sedona McCabeFollow

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Psychology

Abstract

A large number of the United States’ adult population are affected by anxiety disorders, about 18.1% in any given year (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2018). The primary goal of the research was to study the effects of poetry on anxiety, furthermore, to test if poetry had an effect on anxiety levels and if there was a difference in the effect of poetry on anxiety levels of participants with high and low anxiety levels. Forty college-aged participants read 6 short poems and 6 interesting facts and completed a self-report of anxiety. Heart rate and skin conductance (GSR) were measured while they read the poems and fun facts facts. The expected findings of the research were that reading poetry would decrease anxiety levels (HR and GSR) and it would be more likely that reading poetry would decrease anxiety of participants with self-reports of high anxiety compared to those with self-reports of low anxiety. Reading fun facts was not expected to have an effect on anxiety levels. There was no significant difference between content and anxiety on heart rate and GSR. The hypotheses were not supported because all participants’ GSR values and heart rate values, regardless of self-reported anxiety level, did not significantly decrease while reading poetry when compared to fun facts. For some people who enjoy poetry, it may be a way for them to distract themselves from daily stressors, but further research is needed to determine whether poetry may be an effective form of reducing anxiety.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Alisha Marciano

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Effects of Reading Poetry versus Facts on Level of Anxiety

A large number of the United States’ adult population are affected by anxiety disorders, about 18.1% in any given year (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2018). The primary goal of the research was to study the effects of poetry on anxiety, furthermore, to test if poetry had an effect on anxiety levels and if there was a difference in the effect of poetry on anxiety levels of participants with high and low anxiety levels. Forty college-aged participants read 6 short poems and 6 interesting facts and completed a self-report of anxiety. Heart rate and skin conductance (GSR) were measured while they read the poems and fun facts facts. The expected findings of the research were that reading poetry would decrease anxiety levels (HR and GSR) and it would be more likely that reading poetry would decrease anxiety of participants with self-reports of high anxiety compared to those with self-reports of low anxiety. Reading fun facts was not expected to have an effect on anxiety levels. There was no significant difference between content and anxiety on heart rate and GSR. The hypotheses were not supported because all participants’ GSR values and heart rate values, regardless of self-reported anxiety level, did not significantly decrease while reading poetry when compared to fun facts. For some people who enjoy poetry, it may be a way for them to distract themselves from daily stressors, but further research is needed to determine whether poetry may be an effective form of reducing anxiety.