Research: LUNDERVOLD and colleagues

Listed in Issue 65


LUNDERVOLD and colleagues, Department of Education Psychology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 79968, USA, evaluated the effects of behavioural relaxation training (BRT) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe essential tremor (ET) in two older adults.



Two adults, aged 73 and 83 years, with moderate-to-severe ET were evaluated using a single-case design and statistical analysis. Measures included: within-session clinician- and self-rated tremor severity and disability in activities of daily living (ADL), electromyogram (EMG) activity, and daily self-ratings of tremor severity and ADL disabilities. A brief (2-4 week) baseline period was followed by BRT.


Clinically significant reductions of 47-66% occurred in within-session clinician- and self-rated tremor severity and daily self-ratings. Statistically significant changes in self- and clinician-ratings occurred following BRT. In some cases, EMG activity also declined following BRT. At a 7-week follow-up, results were mixed and related to continued use of relaxation skills.


Although the cost ratio (medication : BRT) indicates that BRT is more expensive relative to standard medical intervention, the cost-benefit to patients offsets the financial difference. BRT may be an effective first step in a biobehavioural stepped-care treatment model.


Lundervold DA et al. Reduction of tremor severity and disability following behavioral relaxation training. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 30 (2): 119-35. Jun 1999.

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