Evaluate the Effects of Progressive Muscle Relaxation on Stress Response, Anxiety and Depression

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Ming Shen Chang, RN
Chia-Yi Christian Hospital, Ditmanson Medical Foundation, Chiayi City, Taiwan
Li-Chi Chiang, RN, PhD
School of Nursing, School of Nursing, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: Understanding the progressive muscle relaxation for the caregiver in hospital, caregiversí stress response, anxiety and depression among caregivers of patients with cancer.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will know how to use progressive muscle relaxation for family caregivers with cancer in oncology ward.

Purpose: Recently, the prevalence rate of cancer is increasing progressively in Taiwan. In terms of cancer is a life threatening disease, the great impacts for patients and their families were expected. In addition to the enormous diagnostic procedures and treatments for patients during the early diagnostic stage, families also suffering the psycho-emotional and stress responses consequently. The aim of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of music listening (ML) combined  progressive muscular relaxation (MR) program to family caregivers’ psycho-emotional reactions, including perceived stress, anxiety and depression, as well as physiological response, heart rate variability (HRV) .

Methods: Thirty-eight family caregivers were recruited from a medical center in Taiwan. They were cluster randomly assigned into experimental group (receive ML and MR for 45 minutes for four times) and  comparison group (receive  ML 15 minutes for four times). Data on psycho-emotional responses, including perceived stress, state anxiety, and depression levels were measured by the self-report questionnaire at the baseline and 8 and 12 days follow-up. The physiological response of stress was measured by the autonomous nervous (Heart Rate Variability, HRV) which were collected at baseline and at the end of the 4, 8, and 12 days follow-up.

Results:  The effectiveness of the psycho-emotional responses (state anxiety and depression) were significantly reduced in both groups after 8 and 12 days follow-up. The family caregivers in ML group have significantly reduced their state anxiety than that in the comparison group at 8 days follow-up (p < .05), but not at the 12 days follow-up. The perceived stress and physiological response of stress (HRV) was not significantly differences within pre-and post-intervention and between two groups.

Conclusion:  Based on this study, clinical nursing staff could provide ML or ML combing MR to reduce anxiety and depression of family caregivers.