Research: SCHEUFELE, Uniformed S

Listed in Issue 63


SCHEUFELE, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA examined whether effects of individual elements of relaxation could be measured and whether there were specific effects, or whether relaxation resulted from a generalized ‘relaxation response’.



67 healthy male volunteers were exposed to a stress manipulation condition and then to a) progressive relaxation, b) music, c) attention control or d) silence. Measures of attention, relaxation and stress responses were obtained during each phase of the study.


All four groups showed a reduction in physiological arousal following their relaxation or control condition (as shown by their performances on behavioural measures of attention), as well as a decreased heart rate. However, progressive relaxation resulted in the greatest effects on behavioural and self-report measures of relaxation.


The findings suggest that cognitive cues provided by stress management techniques contribute to relaxation.


Scheufele PM. Effects of progressive relaxation and classical music on measurements of attention, relaxation, and stress response. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 23 (2): 207-28. Apr 2000.

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