Relaxation response and quiet resting : are they comparably efficacious in reducing state and trait anxiety? / by Roy F. Thompson.
Thompson, Roy Freeman
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Study subjects were psychology undergraduates at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario.Anxiety is an essential but occasionally unpleasant emotional state or condition. At its extreme anxiety can be maladaptive particularly when its level is out ofproportion to a threat, or when it occurs in the absence ofthreat. Investigators have conceptualized state anxiety as a transient emotional state, and trait anxiety as a relatively stable individual difference in anxiety-proneness. While research has suggested that meditation is effective in reducing physiological arousal as well as state and trait anxiety, some evidence suggests that resting may be the key component of meditation’s effectiveness. The present study examined the effect ofrelaxation response meditation and a resting procedure on sfate and trait anxiety. Subjects were randomly assigned to one ofthree conditions: relaxation response meditation (RR), quiet resting control treatment (termed “periodic somatic inactivity” or PSI) , or no-treatment waiting list control. It was hypothesized that, compared with subjects assigned to the waiting list, subjects assigned to the two treatment conditions would show significant and equal reductions in scores on state and trait anxiety. Results showed that after 6 weeks only PSI was effective in reducing state anxiety and that RR and PSI were not effective in reducing trait anxiety.