Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Health Sciences

Department

Health and Medical Sciences

Advisor

Terrence F. Cahill, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Ning Zhang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Fortunato Battaglia, Ph.D.

Keywords

Statistics Anxiety, Health Sciences, Doctoral, STARS

Abstract

This study explored the statistical anxiety levels of doctoral students in health sciences related disciplines, i.e. Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). This study also explored the differences in statistics anxiety levels between professional doctoral students (i.e. D.N.P.) and research doctoral student (i.e. Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences, Health Sciences, Nursing, Environmental and Occupational Health, Human Movement Sciences Concentration and Kinesiology & Rehabilitation.) 403 doctoral students responded to the online survey and 312 of them completed 100% of the Statistical Anxiety Rating Scales (STARS) instrument and 100% of the social demographic questions. Statistics anxiety scores achieved internal reliability of 0.86-0.95 and were proved reliable internally. Statistics anxiety scores were statistically different within 3 cohort comparisons of D.N.P. students (p=0.012). These 3 cohorts were the Pre-Statistics cohort (those who have not taken any statistics course in their programs yet), the Current-Statistics cohort (those who were currently taking a statistics course in their programs) and the Post-Statistics cohort (those who have already taken statistics course(s) in their programs). Statistics anxiety scores were also statistically different in comparisons of D.N.P. and Ph.D. students in the Post-Statistics cohort (p=0.0017). Statistics anxiety scores were not statistically different within 3 cohort comparisons of Ph.D. students (p=0.18). Other than the small number of students recruited in the Pre-Statistics and Current-Statistics cohorts and the inequality between 3 cohorts which may have limited the ability to identify any significant effect, the result may also have suggested that this study could be affected by some dispositional antecedents, e.g. Ph.D. students may feel more comfortable with statistics than D.N.P. students. Implications for students and instructors were discussed such as utilizing the different factors of the STARS instrument to personalize the diagnosis of the statistics anxiety problems.

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