Relaxation imagery used for stress reduction in the prevention of smoking relapse


  • *

    Presently Director of Nursing Research The Cleveland Clinic Foundation Cleveland Ohio USA

Dr C A Wynd, 1190 Hunters Trail, Broadview Heights, Oho 44147-1930 USA


Many ex-smokers fail to remain abstinent after the completion of a formal cessation programme, and relapse rates of 60% to 80% are common Smokers identify stress as a major factor in relapse Healthy coping skills are required to prevent a return to smoking The effectiveness of relaxation imagery was investigated for reducing stress and prolonging abstinence in adult ex-smokers Volunteer subjects (n= 76) were solicited after completing a local smoking cessation programme, and participants were randomly assigned to an experimental imagery group (n= 39) and to a control group (n= 37) Both groups met for a 3-month period, and experimental group members received instruction in imagery techniques A 2 × 3 repeated-measures MANOVA with post hoc procedures demonstrated significant changes in variables over time, resulting in enhanced imagery effectiveness, reduced stress, and greater abstinence for the group receiving imagery training Additionally, discriminant analysis revealed that higher stress and lower imagery effectiveness were prevalent in smoking recidivists Results indicate that as guided relaxation imagery is learned and practised, effectiveness of imagery is increased, perceived stress is reduced, and smoking abstinence is maintained