Skip to main content
Log in

Effects of Progressive Relaxation and Classical Music on Measurements of Attention, Relaxation, and Stress Responses

  • Published:
Journal of Behavioral Medicine Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The present experiment examined relaxation using different experimental conditions to test whether the effects of individual elements of relaxation could be measured, whether specific effects were revealed, or whether relaxation resulted from a generalized “relaxation response.” Sixty-seven normal, male volunteers were exposed to a stress manipulation and then to one of two relaxation (Progressive Relaxation, Music) or control (Attention Control, Silence) conditions. Measurements of attention, relaxation, and stress responses were obtained during each phase of the experiment. All four groups exhibited similar performance on behavioral measures of attention that suggested a reduction in physiological arousal following their relaxation or control condition, as well as a decreased heart rate. Progressive Relaxation, however, resulted in the greatest effects on behavioral and self-report measures of relaxation, suggesting that cognitive cues provided by stress management techniques contribute to relaxation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

REFERENCES

  • Allen, K., and Blascovich, J. (1994). Effects of music on cardiovascular reactivity among surgeons. JAMA 272(11): 882-884.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benson, H. (1975). The Relaxation Response, Avon, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benson, H., Beary, J. F., and Carol, M. P. (1974). The relaxation response. Psychiatry 37: 37-46.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bernstein, D. A., and Borkovec, T. D. (1973). Progressive Relaxation Training, Research Press, Champaign, IL.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bernstein, D. A., and Carlson, C. R. (1993). Progressive relaxation: Abbreviated Methods. In Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (eds.), Principles and Practices of Stress Management, 2nd ed., Guilford Press, New York, pp. 53-87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borkovek, T.D., and Sides, J.K. (1979). Critical procedural variables related to the physiological effects of progressive relaxation: A review. Behav. Res. Ther. 17: 119-125.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., and Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. J. Health Soc. Behav. 24: 385-396.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curran, S. L., Andrykowski, M. A., and Studts, J. L. (1995). Short form of the Profile of Mood States (POMS-SF): Psychometric information. Psychol. Assess. 7(1): 80-83.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davidson, R. G., and Schwartz, G. E. (1976). Psychobiology of relaxation and related states. In Mostofsky, D. (ed.), Behavior Modification and Control of Physiological Activity, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, W. B., and Thaut, M. H. (1989). The influence of preferred relaxing music on measures of state anxiety, relaxation, and physiological responses. J. Music Ther. 26(4): 168-187.

    Google Scholar 

  • Derogatis, L. R., and Melisaratos, N. (1983). The Brief Symptom Inventory: An introductory report. Psychol. Med. 13: 595-605.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eisenberg, D. M., Davis, R. B., Ettner, S. L., Appel, S., Wilkey, S., Van Rompay, M., and Kessler, R. C. (1998). Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997: Results of a follow-up national survey. JAMA 280(18): 1569-1575.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fair, P. (1989). Biofeedback-assisted relaxation strategies in psychotherapy. In Basmajian, J. V. (ed.), Biofeedback: Principles and Practice for Clinicians, 3rd ed., Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenwood, M. M., and Benson, H. (1977). The efficacy of progressive relaxation in systematic desensitization and a proposal for and alternative competitive response-The relaxation response. Behav. Res. Ther. 15: 337-343.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanser, S. B. (1985). Music therapy and stress reduction research. J. Music Ther. 22(4): 193-206.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jacobson, E. (1925). Progressive relaxation. Am. J. Psychol. 36: 73-87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jacobson, E. (1938). Progressive Relaxation, University of Chicago, Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kahneman, D. (1973). Attention and Effort, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kearney, P., Beatty, M. J., Plax, T. G., and McCroskey, J. C. (1984). Factor analysis of the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule and the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension-24: Replication and extension. Psychol. Rep. 54: 851-854.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keppel, G. (1991). Design and Analysis:AResearcher's Handbook, 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lehrer, P. M. (1978). Psychophysiological effects of progressive relaxation in anxiety neurotic patients and of progressive relaxation and alpha feedback in nonpatients. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 46: 389-404.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lehrer, P.M. (1982). How to relax and how not to relax:Are-evaluation of the work of Edmund Jacobson—I. Behav. Res. Ther. 28: 417-428.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lehrer, P.M. (1996). Recent research findings on stress management techniques. In Dupont, R., and McGovern, J. P. (eds.), The Hatherleigh Guide to Issues in Modern Therapy, Hatherleigh Press, New York, pp. 1-32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (1993). Specific effects of stress management techniques. In Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (eds.), Principles and Practices of Stress Management, 2nd ed., Guilford Press, New York, pp. 481-520.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (1993). Research on clinical issues in stress management. In Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (eds.), Principles and Practices of Stress Management, 2nd ed., Guilford Press, New York, pp. 521-538.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCraty, R., Barrios-Choplin, B., Atkinson, M., and Tomasino, D. (1998). The effects of different types of music on mood, tension, and mental clarity. Altern. Ther. 4(1): 75-84.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCroskey, J. C. (1970). Measures of communication-bound anxiety. Speech Monogr. 37: 269-277.

    Google Scholar 

  • McGuigan, F. J. (1993). Progressive relaxation: Origins, principles, and clinical applications. In Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (eds.), Principles and Practices of Stress Management, 2nd ed., Guilford Press, New York, pp. 17-52.

    Google Scholar 

  • McKinney, C. H., Tims, F. C., Kumar, A. M., and Kumar, M. (1997a). The effect of selected classical music and spontaneous imagery on plasma beta-endorphin. J. Behav. Med. 20(1): 85-99.

    Google Scholar 

  • McKinney, C. H., Antoni, M. H., Kumar, M., Tims, F. C., and McCabe, P.M. (1997b). Effects of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) therapy on mood and cortisol in healthy adults. Health Psychol. 16(4): 390-400.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mesulam, M. M. (1985). Principles of Behavioral Neurology, F. A. Davis, Philadelphia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morokoff, P., Baum, A., McKinnon, W., and Gillilland, R. (1987). Effects of chronic unemployment and acute psychological stress on sexual arousal in men. Health Psychol. 6(6): 545-560.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearson, J. C. (1979). A factor analytic study of the items in the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule and the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension. Psychol. Rep. 45: 491-497.

    Google Scholar 

  • Poppen, R. (1988). Behavioral Relaxation Training and Assessment, Pergamon Press, Elmsford, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rider, M. S. (1985). Entrainment mechanisms are involved in pain reduction, muscle relaxation, and music-meditated imagery. J. Music Ther. 22(4): 183-192.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, G., and McGrady, A. (1996). Racial and gender effects on the relaxation response: Implications for the development of hypertension. Biofeed. Self-Regul. 21(1): 51-62.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rozanski, A., Bairev, C., Krantz, D., Friedman, J., Resser, K., Morell, M., Hilton-Chalfen, S., Hestrin, L., Bietendorf, J., and Berman, D. (1988). Mental stress and the introduction of silent ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 318(16): 1005-1011.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schachter, S. (1964). The interaction of cognitive and physiological determinants of emotional state. In Berkowitz, L. (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology,Vol. 1, Academic Press, New york.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schachter, S., and Singer, J. E. (1962). Cognitive, social, and physiological determinants of emotional state. Psychol. Rev. 69(5): 379-399.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schilling, D. J., and Poppen, R. (1983). Behavioral relaxation training and assessment. J. Behav. Ther. Exp. Psychiatry 14(2): 99-107.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwartz, G. E. (1993). Biofeedback is not relaxation is not hypnosis. In Lehrer, P. M., and Woolfolk, R. L. (eds.), Principles and Practices of Stress Management, 2nd ed., Guilford Press, New York, pp. vii-viii.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shacham, S. (1983). A shortened version of the Profile of Mood States. J. Person. Assess. 47(3): 305-306.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro, S., and Lehrer, P. M. (1980). Psychophysiological effects of autogenic training and progressive relaxation. Biofeed. Self-Regul. 5(2): 249-255.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, J.C. (1988). Steps toward a cognitive-behavioral model of relaxation. Biofeed. Self-Regul. 13(4): 307-329.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, J. C., Amutio, A., Anderson, J. P., and Aria, L. A. (1996). Relaxation: Mapping an uncharted world. Biofeed. Self-Regul. 21(1): 63-90.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stratton, V. N., and Zalanowski, A. H. (1984). The relationship between music, degree of liking, and self-reported relaxation. J. Music Ther. 21(4): 184-192.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thaut, M. H., and Davis, W. B. (1993). The influence of subject-selected versus experimenterchosen music on affect, anxiety, and relaxation. J. Music Ther. 30(4): 210-233.

    Google Scholar 

  • Throll, D. A. (1982). Transcendental meditation and progressive relaxation: Their physiological effects. J. Clin. Psychol. 38(3): 522-530.

    Google Scholar 

  • Watson, D., Clark, L. A., and Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect:The PANASscales. J.Person. Soc. Psychol. 54(6): 1063-1070.

    Google Scholar 

  • Woolfolk, R. L., Lehrer, P. M., McCann, B. S., and Rooney, A. J. (1982). Effects of progressive relaxation and meditation on cognitive and somatic manifestations of daily stress. Behav. Res. Ther. 20: 461-467.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Scheufele, P.M. Effects of Progressive Relaxation and Classical Music on Measurements of Attention, Relaxation, and Stress Responses. J Behav Med 23, 207–228 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005542121935

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005542121935

Navigation