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

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Abstract

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.

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