Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Nursing in Richmond, VA explored the perceptions of pregnant African American women toward using guided imagery as a stress management technique. Interest in this was high, as maternal stress during pregnancy has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and pregnant African American women are reported to have higher levels of stress than most other ethnic groups.

The guided imagery intervention was part of a larger mixed methods randomized controlled trial. The 12week intervention was a professionally recorded compact disc with four tracks developed and sequenced to reduce stress and associated symptoms in listeners.

The findings from this descriptive, phenomenologic study were derived from the daily logs and interviews with 36 participants who had been randomized to the GI group. Participants described the stressful nature of their lives.

Results demonstrated that the pregnant African American women perceived the guided imagery intervention as beneficial in reducing stress and associated symptoms.

The emergent themes suggested that the intervention offered a respite from their stressful lives; reduced negative emotional responses to stress; enhanced a sense of well-being; benefited other areas of daily living; and provided an opportunity to emotionally connect with the baby.

The researchers conclude that the results support the perceived efficacy of guided imagery as a stress coping intervention, positively perceived by a cohort of pregnant African American women. Additionally, they note that guided imagery is an economical intervention, and that is also easy to implement, access and use.

Citation: Jallo N1, Salyer J2, Ruiz RJ3, French E4. Perceptions of Guided Imagery for Stress Management in Pregnant African American Women. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 2015 Aug;29(4):249-54. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2015.04.004. Epub 2015 Apr 24. [email protected]

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