Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


Educational Psychology, Ed.D.

First Advisor

Conrad A. Reichert

Second Advisor

Roy E. Hartbauer

Third Advisor

Wilfred W. Liske


Previous research has indicated the effectiveness of rational-emotive education techniques in reducing anxiety and building self-esteem with regular classroom children. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of rational-emotive group therapy on anxiety and self-esteem of learning-disabled children. One hundred ten learning-disabled children (ages 8-13) were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: rational-emotive therapy (N=32), recreational-educational programming (N=31), or no-contact (N=47). Within the two experimental treatments that actually met, groups of seven to nine members, similar in chronological age, were formed. The rational-emotive groups received therapy based on rational-emotive theory. The recreational-educational programming groups engaged in such activities as arts and crafts, table-top games, gym activities , sports, auditory center, and hiking. The no-contact group did not meet. A total of nine sessions over a ten-week period were conducted with the children who were in the rational-emotive and recreational-education groups. Pre- and posttest measures of self-esteem (SEI) and anxiety (TA3C) were obtained. In this quasi-experimental study, a non-equivalent control-group research design was employed. The data were studied statistically by univariate and multivariate analysis of covariance and discriminant analysis. Results indicated significantly lower mean anxiety scores for the rational-emotive therapy group (p < .0005) after treatment. No significant difference was obtained in mean self-esteem estimates. It was concluded that rational-emotive group therapy shows potential for use in reducing anxiety in learning disabled children. This study supports the findings of earlier research that rational-emotive therapy is highly effective in reducing anxiety. It is suggested that self-esteem may be less susceptible to change over relatively short-term therapy periods. Recommendations for further research are offered.

Subject Area

Learning disabilities.