Relaxation-induced anxiety: Paradoxical anxiety enhancement due to relaxation training

Frederick J. Heide, T. D. Borkovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


14 adults (mean age 34.4 yrs) suffering from general tension were given 1 session of training in each of 2 relaxation methods--progressive relaxation and mantra meditation; order of presentation was counterbalanced. Ss were administered a battery of tests that included the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Cognitive-Somatic Anxiety Questionnaire, and the Anxiety Differential. Four of the Ss plus 1 other who terminated prematurely displayed clinical evidence of an anxiety reaction during a preliminary practice period, while 30.8% of the total group under progressive relaxation and 53.8% under focused relaxation reported increased tension due to the relaxation session. Progressive relaxation produced greater reductions in subjective and physiological outcome measures and less evidence of relaxation-induced anxiety. (33 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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