Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. M. Michele Burnette

Second Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. William K. Redmon

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Eric Green


Four individuals with frequent recurrences of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) were trained in Applied Relaxation (AR). Participants included in the research were all women, had been diagnosed with herpes at least one year prior to the study, experienced 6 or more outbreaks annually, and were not taking antiviral medications.

The experiment employed a multiple baseline across subjects design with individual baselines of 11, 13, 17, and 21 weeks. Participants maintained daily diary recordings of the frequency, duration, and severity of their herpes activity from baseline until a minimum of three months post-treatment.

Treatment consisted of 10 individual AR sessions. Pre-training and post-training frontalis electromyographic activity measures of the subjects' ability to relax during rest and their ability to apply the relaxation skill during stressful role plays were obtained. The subjects recorded pre-treatment to post-treatment reductions in herpes frequency of 67%, 46%, 90%, and 69%. These changes were statistically significant across all subjects as a group and individually for three of the four subjects. These results suggest that AR is an effective technique for reducing recurrent HSV infections.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access