Recently, there has been an interest in the relative effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) within the multidisciplinary treatment of patients with schizophrenia.The present study is aimed at providing evidence on the efficacy of PMR as means of alleviating the state anxiety and psychological distress and a way to increase subjective well-being in chronic patients with schizophrenia.
Sixty four schizophrenia patients underwent 2 sessions of PMR. On the third session they were randomly allocated to either the PMR or the reading control condition. The State Anxiety Inventory (SAI) was used to assess state anxiety and the Subjective Exercise Experience Scale (SEES) to assess psychological distress and subjective well-being before and after the third session for both groups.
Our data show a significant time by group interaction for the SAI and SEES (Wilks λ=0.58, p<0.001). Effect sizes for PMR were -0.22 (95%CI=-0.73 to 0.19) for state anxiety, -0.96 (95%CI=-0.41 to -1.43) for psychological stress, and +1.01 (95%CI=0.45 to 1.54) for subjective well-being.
The present study provides scientific evidence for the utility of PMR in the chronic psychiatric settings for patients with schizophrenia.