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Relaxation training procedures have been used increasingly over the last 20 years as a treatment intervention for generalized anxiety. Treatment of anxiety is often approached from the broader perspective of stress management training using relaxation procedures as components of the treatment protocol. Historically, active relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, have been employed in stress management programs, although passive relaxation techniques, those not requiring muscle tension release, have also proven effective in reducing symptoms of tension and anxiety. The present study was designed to compare the efficacy of a clinically proven, but empirically untested, passive relaxation procedure called Sensory Awareness (SA) against a standardized, ten-session progressive muscle procedure (PMR) and an attention-placebo control procedure (APC). The non-student treatment sample, recruited from the local community, included 36 adults with heterogeneous demographic characteristics (mean age: 35.05; SD: 12.4 years) all reporting chronic levels of daily stress and persistent symptoms of anxiety. All subjects participated in pre, mid, and posttreatment assessment sessions as part of a five week treatment protocol. Random assignment to treatment group produced equivalence among the groups at pretreatment. Midtreatment and posttreatment assessments found significant reductions in self-reported tension, number and intensity of both daily hassles and symptoms of anxiety for PMR and SA, but not APC. Short-term, within-session reductions in tension were reflected by subjects' self-ratings of relaxation and behavioral observation variables including, head tilt, head rotation, eye movement and body movement. Observer ratings of relaxation status and respiration rates showed inconsistent agreement with the other variables. Greater twice-per-day, and fewer zero-per-day home relaxation practices were found with the SA procedure during the first half of treatment. The PMR procedure had compliance rates equal to the SA procedure during the second half of treatment. The discussion focused on: (1) issues of validity and reliability of the marked tape procedure for assessing home practice, (2) the use of direct observation in assessing the effects of relaxation training, and (3) the utility of the Sensory Awareness procedure as a treatment for general anxiety and stress.