Comparative effectiveness of voluntary heart rate control and muscular relaxation as active coping skills for reducing speech anxiety

R. J. Gatchel, J. P. Hatch, P. J. Watson, D. Smith, E. Gaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study investigated whether heart rate biofeedback training is as effective as muscular relaxation training in reducing speech anxiety. Also, a combined muscle relaxation/biofeedback treatment group was included in this study. All treatment groups were compared to a false-biofeedback placebo control group. This investigation also assessed whether the degree of autonomic nervous system awareness significantly influences the treatment process. Ten speech-anxious subjects, half of whom scored high on the Autonomic Perception Questionnaire (APQ) and half of whom scored low on the APQ, were assigned to each group. Results indicated that all four groups demonstrated a decrease in self-reported anxiety. Assessment of physiological measures (heart rate and skin conductance) indicated that the three treatment groups were associated with less physiological responding during the posttreatment assessment of anxiety, relative to the false-biofeedback group. Moreover, among the three treatment groups, the combined relaxation/biofeedback group demonstrated the lowest level of responding. The degree of autonomic awareness was not found to be related to therapeutic improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1100
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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