Stress Relief Research
Researchers from Walden University in Minneapolis conducted a randomized, controlled study to assess the impact of a yoga intervention on the psychological health of older adults.
Subjects were 98 older adults, ages 65 to 92, randomly assigned to 6 weeks of either chair yoga, chair exercise or a control group condition. They were assessed pre-and post-intervention, and at one month follow-up on their anger, anxiety, depression, morale and self-efficacy.
Researchers from Harvard and McGill Universities performed a systematic review of studies investigating the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on stress and anxiety in healthy, nonclinical adults.
A total of 29 studies (n=2668) were included. Effect-size estimates suggested that MBSR is moderately effective in pre-post analyses (n=26; Hedge's g=.55; 95% CI [.44, .66], p<.00001) and in between-group analyses (n=18; Hedge's g=.53; 95% CI [.41, .64], p<.00001).
Outcomes were maintained at an average of 19 weeks of follow-up and the results suggest large effects on stress, moderate effects on anxiety, depression, distress, and quality of life, and small effects on burnout.
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.
Researchers from the University of California at San Diego examined whether mindfulness training can improve resilience in active duty Marines preparing for deployment.
Eight Marine infantry platoons (N=281) were randomly selected. Four platoons were assigned to receive mindfulness training (N=147) and four were assigned to a training-as-usual control condition (N=134).
Platoons were assessed at baseline, 8 weeks after baseline, and during and after a stressful combat training session approximately 9 weeks after baseline.
The mindfulness training condition was delivered in the form of 8 weeks of Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT), a program comprising 20 hours of classroom instruction plus daily homework exercises.
Researchers from the University of Greenwich, London, UK investigated whether hypnosis plus Virtual Reality (VR) performed more effectively than hypnosis alone.
Thirty-five healthy participants were randomized to self-hypnosis with VR imagery, standard self-hypnosis, or relaxation interventions. Changes in sleep, cortisol levels, and mood were examined.
Researchers from UCLA conducted a randomized controlled trial of a web-based, self-guided, multimedia stress management and resilience training program (SMART-OP) with a stressed but healthy sample.
Sixty-six participants were randomized to SMART-OP or an attention control (AC) group that received marketed videos and published material on stress management.
Participants were evaluated on self-report measures and the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Analyses were based on study completers (N = 59).
The SMART-OP group reported significantly less stress, more perceived control over stress, and rated SMART-OP as significantly more useful than the attention control arm. In addition, the SMART-OP group showed greater within-task α-amylase recovery at post-assessment.
Researchers from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, compared the effectiveness of 2 evidence-based group interventions to help stressed breast cancer survivors cope - mindfulness-based cancer recovery (MBCR) and classic, supportive-expressive group therapy (SET).
This multisite, randomized controlled trial assigned 271 distressed survivors of stage I - III breast cancer to one of the two group interventions or a 1-day stress management control condition.
MBCR focused on training in mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga, whereas SET focused on emotional expression and group support. Both intervention groups included 18 hours of professional contact.
Measures were collected at baseline and post-intervention by blinded assessors. Primary outcome measures were mood and diurnal salivary cortisol slopes. Secondary outcomes were stress symptoms, quality of life and social support.
Researchers from the School of Psychology, University of Sussex in Falmer, UK, explored in this feasibility study whether a brief, online, mindfulness-based intervention could increase mindfulness and reduce perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptoms within a student population.
One hundred and four students were randomly assigned to either immediately start a two-week, self- guided online, mindfulness-based intervention or to a wait-list control.
Measures of mindfulness, perceived stress and anxiety/depression were taken, before and after the intervention period.
Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi assessed the efficacy of a brief yoga-based intervention on lowering stress and reducing inflammation in patients with chronic inflammatory disease in a preliminary study with a pre-post design.
Subjects were patients with chronic inflammatory diseases and others who suffered from being overweight or obese.
The program consisted of asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), stress management, group discussions, lectures, and individualized coaching.
Outcomes were changes from day 0 to day 10 in plasma cortisol and β-endorphin to measure reductions in stress: and interleukin [IL]-6 and tumor necrosis factor [TNF] - to measure reductions in inflammation.
Investigators from Buenos Aires University examined psychoneuroendocrine responses to three different types of stress management programs. The first arm was training in deep breathing, relaxation response, meditation, and guided imagery (RRGI); the second arm was training in cognitive behavioral techniques (CB); and the third arm of the study included both RRGI and CB (RRGICB).
Fifty-two undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of the 3 conditions or a control group. A pre/post experimental design was used, measuring anxiety, anger, hopelessness, neuroticism, respiration rate, and salivary cortisol levels.