Psychophysiological effects of autogenic training and progressive relaxation

Abstract

Although autogenic training and progressive relaxation are widely used relaxation techniques, little research has been conducted on their comparative effects. Twenty-two normal subjects received five sessions of instruction in either progressive relaxation or autogenic training over a 5-week period. Both types of training, when compared to the control group, significantly decreased SCL-90 scores on four scales: anxiety, depression, number of symptoms, and intensity of symptoms. Also, autogenic training appeared to produce specific effects on self-perception of heaviness and warmth in the limbs and depth of breathing. However, there were no significant differences between groups in pretest versus posttest changes in heart rate or skin conductance. These results are consistent with the results of other recent research on nonanxious individuals in this laboratory.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Armor, D., & Couch, A. Adata-text primer. New York: Wiley, 1972.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Benson, H.The relaxation response. New York: Avon, 1975.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Davidson, R. J., & Schwartz, G. E. Psychobiology of relaxation and related states: A multi-process theory. In D. Mostofsky (Ed.),Behavior control and modification of physiological activity. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Derogatis, L. R., Lipman, R. S., & Covi, L. SCL-90: An outpatient psychiatric rating scale-preliminary report.Psychopharmacological Bulletin 1973,9 13–27.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Jacobson, E.Progressive relaxation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1938.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Jacobson, E.Anxiety and tension control: A physiologic approach. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1964.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Lehrer, P. M. Psychophysiological effects of relaxation in anxiety neurotic patients and of progressive relaxation and alpha feedback in nonpatients.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1978,46 389–404.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Lehrer, P. M., & Taylor, H. A. Effects of alcohol on cardiac reactivity in alcoholics and non-alcoholics.Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 1974,35 1044–1052.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Luthe, W.Autogenic therapy (Vol. 4):Research and theory. New York and London: Grune and Stratton, 1970.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Meddis, R. A simple two-group test for matched scores with unequal cell frequencies.British Journal of Psychology 1975,66 225–227.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Schultz, J. H., & Luthe, W.Autogenic therapy (Vol. 1):Autogenic methods. New York and London: Grune and Stratton, 1969.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene, R. E.STAI: Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1970.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Wolpe, J.Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1958.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul M. Lehrer.

Additional information

This report is based on a Master of Science thesis at Rutgers University by the senior author. The research was supported in part by a General Research Support Grant from Rutgers Medical School to the junior author. The authors are indebted to Robert Edelberg for his generously supplied psychophysiological help and advice, and to Alan Jusko for his technical help.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Shapiro, S., Lehrer, P.M. Psychophysiological effects of autogenic training and progressive relaxation. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 5, 249–255 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00998600

Download citation

Keywords

  • Heart Rate
  • Health Psychology
  • Specific Effect
  • Comparative Effect
  • Skin Conductance