Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Gretchen Gimpel


Gretchen Gimpel


Kevin Masters


Edward Heath


Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) techniques have been used since the early

twentieth century as a means of inducing relaxation and decreasing muscle tension.

However, only in the last twenty five years have systematic studies of these techniques to

treat children and adolescents appeared with any regularity in the research literature.

The last major review of the literature was published in 1989. The purpose of this

paper was to examine studies published since the last review of the literature. A special

emphasis was placed on studies set in schools or that were relevant to mental health

professionals in those settings. The bulk of this paper was devoted to examining how

PMR has been used in the last decade to treat problems and disorders such as: anxiety,

depression, asthma, headaches, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, juvenile

rheumatoid arthritis, and tourette syndrome. It was found that PMR was most effective in

reducing somatic symptoms of anxiety and headache symptomatology but that more

research must be conducted before the overall efficacy of PMR with childhood

populations can be determined. This paper concludes with a discussion of how the current

findings can be used by school-based mental health practitioners.

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