The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy as an Anxiolytic in Freshman Nursing Students.
At this point in the semester, the experimental portion of this study has been completed. We have results of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) as well as the Westside Test Anxiety Scale (WAS) which indicate that our stress management intervention of using lavender inhalers at a minimum of 3 times per week has indeed succeeded in improving sleep quality and reducing anxiety, respectively. The mean of the PSQI pre intervention was 6 (indicative of poor sleep) and post intervention was 4.625. The mean of the WAS pre intervention was 2.325 and post intervention 2.2.
A major challenge Dr. Greenberg and I have experienced was retention of subjects due to noncompliance with our surveys, which caused a drop in sample size from 54 to 27 subjects. One of the many successes was discovering the true extent of how efficacious lavender aromatherapy is. The implications of our study could be as far reaching as not only an anxiolytic in nursing students, but students at large. We also discovered that reduction in use of lavender inhaler yielded a decrease in sleep quality.
Some things I have learned through conducting this research are how to design an experiment from the ground up, debate methodologies, establish and employ valid and reliable measures, and how to code and interpret data. I became more confident in my public speaking skills when recruiting subjects and later, when reporting the results back to the participants. I am also enthused that this research program has allotted me the opportunity to present my work on this topic at the Eastern Nursing Research Society’s 28th annual scientific session in Pittsburgh, PA this April. This is an accomplishment Dr. Greenberg and I are immensely proud of, as this is a national nursing research conference. We are also working on a manuscript, which will be submitted for publication in various nursing and alternative therapy journals.
Anesha Narain Fall Blog Post #1
The title of our project is “The Use of aromatherapy in freshman nursing students to decrease test anxiety.” The purpose is to investigate the efficacy of lavender inhalation in reducing test anxiety and improving sleep in University 101 freshman students over the age of 18 who have no cognitive impairments, can read and understand English, have no unstable psychiatric impairments including depression and severe anxiety disorders, no lung conditions such as asthma or rhinitis, and are not pregnant. The goals of our study are to answer three research questions:
1.) In a sample of University 101 nursing freshman age 18 and over, what is the incidence of test anxiety?
2.) In a sample of University 101 nursing freshman age 18 and over, does the use of lavender inhalation 3 times per week reduce test anxiety as measured by the Westside Test Anxiety Scale?
3.) In a sample of University 101 nursing freshman age 18 and over, does the use of lavender inhalation 3 times per week increase the number of hours of sleep as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Scale (modified)?
The implications of this study could once and for all prove the effectiveness of using lavender as an anxiolytic in students and have far reaching effects nation or even worldwide. The methods we will use include administering a demographic data questionnaire, the Westside Test Anxiety scale and the Pittsburgh Sleep inventory on qualtrics at the beginning and end of our study as well as a weekly modified sleep questionnaire. We will then conduct an SPSS and ANOVA to analyze the data.
At this point in our study, Dr. Greenberg and I have completed the literature review phase of our research. We have referenced other studies, both similar and distinct from our own, to confirm the efficacy of lavender as an anxiolytic intervention that could potentially benefit our incoming freshman nursing students in Fall of 2015. In designing our experiment, one may question why we would select freshman students as opposed to more seasoned, clinically, and academically experienced senior students. We decided to focus our analysis on incoming freshman because of this very experience, which makes seniors too resilient and acclimated to the workload of a strenuous program such as the R4N at Pace University to be a true un-jaded group of subjects.
The major strides that we have made in designing our experiment since the last blog post include identifying exactly which medium holds the aroma of lavender most effectively which we concluded is 4 drops of lavender oil on a makeup sponge sealed in an airtight container which held the scent for 2 weeks as per our trials. We also chose a brand of lavender oil as per the recommendation of a fellow professional. Lastly, we selected the Beck anxiety inventory questionnaire to evaluate the exact change, or lack thereof, in anxiety level our subjects will undergo as the semester progresses.
Going forward, our next steps in this research endeavor will be to run our IRB application through Pace University’s review board, write up a consent form for our students to review, and to carry out the experiment we have worked so hard to perfect this summer, in the Fall 2015 semester. In accordance with the amount of students who consent to be a part of our study, we will purchase the amount of supplies necessary to run trials from September- December. We are enthusiastic about this research endeavor and hope to prove indefinitely that Lavender oil can be an asset to students in their undoubtedly anxiety provoking and stress educing college years.
Hello, my name is Anesha Narain and as part of Pace University’s Undergraduate Research Program and in conjunction with my mentor Dr. Martha Greenberg, we have made great strides over the past month and a half in composing a stress relief modality that will mitigate “test anxiety” in incoming freshman nursing students. We have decided to make aromatherapy, more specifically, Lavender oil, the mainstay of our therapeutic intervention. Over the past few weeks, the focal point of our to do list has been to gather the best available evidence pertinent to our research including scholarly articles on similar research initiatives and documentation of the therapeutic effects of essential oils such as Lavender. Information from the articles was then synthesized into a chart, which will be used to help design our experiment, i.e. we will learn from other people’s mistakes. During our weekly meetings, either in person or on Skype, Dr. Greenberg and I have worked to establish what the best possible brand of Lavender oil to use as per the recommendation of experts is, what the best alternate oil to give to our control group is, as well as the best means to deliver the aroma to the student. We have purchased small containers and will now run a test to see which medium retains the aroma most effectively such as a cotton ball, sponge, or other material, so that we can ensure our highly stressed nursing students will receive the maximum efficacy of the essential oils.
Going forward, the next step is to put together an IRB application so that we have permission to experiment with our freshman University 101 students this Fall. We will also be purchasing the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to analyze our students and thus diminish the variable of whether the pupil is a naturally anxious person or if they are anxious due to the test taking process. In addition, we will label our containers and place the appropriate oil in the appropriate medium to deliver to our experimental and control groups this Fall. I am excited to move forward with this project and knowing that our research could potentially abate some anxiety for my fellow nursing students will give me tremendous gratification.