Third Blog Post: Aromatherapy Research Progress

Use of aromatherapy in freshman college students to decrease test anxiety: A random blinded intervention-placebo study

The experimental portion of this study has ended. Dr. Greenberg and I are now focusing on collecting and analyzing the results of our pre experiment and post-experiment surveys; Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Westside Test Anxiety Scale, and Spielberg State Trait Anxiety inventory.

Dr. Greenberg and I encountered a multitude of challenges in this study;

  1. We had a large, potential sample size of over 400 freshman students; however, it proved to be an impossible task to recruit many of the students. I sent numerous emails reaching out to the students. University 101 professors posted the consent form for the study to their course’s Blackboard for ease of access for the students. We even offered gift card incentives! We ended with a total sample size of 27 subjects. Due to the difficulty we faced with recruitment, we learned quickly that working with this group of students was going to be a challenge.
  2. Of the 27 participants, there was huge noncompliance with completing the surveys. Only 4 subjects completed all of the surveys. I even sent mass texts and emails reminding and encouraging the participants to complete the surveys.
  3. Only 11 subjects actually picked up their inhalers.
  4. Because of this, our end sample size for the control and intervention groups was limited.

Conversely, despite the challenges faced, we found that utilizing the lavender inhaler a minimum of 3 times per week, in the fall semester, prior to midterm examinations and through final examinations yielded as an effective anxiolytic and improved the subject’s quality of sleep. Specific statistical data is still currently being analyzed and will be discussed in depth on the UG research day that Provost is holding. 

I will be graduating this May with a strongly developed skill in evidence-based practice research thanks to Leinhard School of Nursing. The program is strongly invested in teaching nursing students the essentiality of using current, best evidence when making decisions about patient care and utilizing critically appraised, scientifically proven evidence for delivering quality health care. I learned that this is one of my major strengths, and I have become intent on conducting my own research later in my nursing career. When Dr. Greenberg offered me this opportunity to be involved in her research, I was incredibly enthusiastic that she not only recognized my EBP aptitude, but that this opportunity would provide me a foundation on conducting research that I can one day achieve myself. I have become confident in my ability to interpret research data through employing valid statistical tests. Dr. Greenberg and I will be presenting our work on aromatherapy at the Eastern Nursing Research Society’s annual scientific session in Pittsburgh, PA next month. This accomplishment will open a door of opportunities for my career path that I have only begun.


Author: Danielle

Senior BSN Student. VALOR Student Nurse technician at James Peter's VA Medical Center, Bronx.

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