Date of Graduation
Schwartz and his colleagues (Davidson & Schwartz, 1976; Schwartz, Davidson, & Goleman, 1978) have argued that there are specific types of relaxation responses that occur in response to different types of relaxation training. Various techniques believed to produce cognitive or somatic forms of relaxation have been identified, but the empirical evidence in support of the specific effects hypothesis is mixed with adults and absent with children. This study was designed to test whether techniques labeled somatic (progressive muscle relaxation) and cognitive (visual imagery training) would produce different patterns of reductions in physiological, self-report, and performance measures of somatic and cognitive arousal in test anxious children. It was predicted that both procedures would produce greater reduction in all measures of arousal than vague instructions to relax, but that progressive muscle relaxation would produce the greatest reductions in measures of somatic arousal and visual imagery relaxation would produce the greatest reductions in measures of cognitive arousal. These hypotheses were not supported. There were no differences between the three conditions on all but one measure. Both relaxation training techniques resulted in improved fine motor performance while vague instructions to relax resulted in worsened performance. These results are discussed in light of issues related to subject-treatment interactions and length of training. Suggestions for future research are also included.
Armstrong, Floyd Daniel, "Relaxation Training With Children: A Test Of The Specific Effects Hypothesis." (1985). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8416.