Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The present study compared cue-controlled relaxation (CCR) to progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) as possible methods of reducing reactivity to active stressors (math and anagram tasks). The CCR training entailed practicing relaxation during exposure to the active stressors, while the PMR training did not. Ten cardiac rehabilitation patients served in an experiment which used a repeated-measures ANOVA to assess changes in frontal EMG, skin conductance level (SCL), systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure, and pulse-rate reactivity across three experimental conditions. These were: baseline, progressive muscle relaxation, and cue-controlled relaxation. The results indicated that CCR led to reduced EMG, SBP, and pulse-rate (ps < .05) reactivity. The stressors maintained their ability to elicit reactivity over repeated (6-13) experimental sessions, while no significant changes occurred in task performance. Neither Type A behavior nor subjective anxiety changed as a result of training.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access