Stressed aggressive adolescents benefit from progressive muscle relaxation: A random, prospective, controlled trial



Adolescent stress is an emerging area of importance. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) for anger in stressed male adolescents. A random sample of 252 subjects was recruited. Increased Anger-Out scores were found in 81 of them on entry to the study. PMR was employed for 8 weeks for a randomly selected group of 40 of the 81, while the other 41 formed the control group. The salivary cortisol concentration, State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), and Health Survey (SF-36) were used in the study. Initial examination revealed raised salivary cortisol levels on awakening, increased scores on most of the STAXI scales and relatively low T-values on the SF-36 scales, which describe physical health. At the highest morning salivary cortisol concentration (p < 0.01), the State-Anger, Trait-Anger, Anger-Out and Anger-Control scales of the STAXI (all p < 0.01), as well as those for the vitality (VITA), social functioning (SOFU), role-emotional (ROEM), and mental health (PSYC), (all p < 0.01) scales of SF-36, showed significant change. PMR appears to be effective in the treatment of aggression in stressed male adolescents and improvement in health-related quality of life may be expected. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.