Self-help relaxation for post-stroke anxiety: A randomised, controlled pilot study

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Journal Article
Clinical Rehabilitation, 2016, 30 (2), pp. 174 - 180
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© The Author(s) 2015. Objective: To consider relaxation as a potential treatment for anxiety in stroke survivors living in the community, including feasibility and acceptability. Design: Randomised two group design (intervention and control). Participants: All participants (n = 21) were stroke survivors living in the community who reported experiencing anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale - Anxiety Subscale ≥3/4 6). Interventions: The intervention group were asked to listen to a self-help autogenic relaxation CD, five times a week, for at least one month. Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at screening and then monthly for three months. Results: At each assessment following screening, participants who received the relaxation training were significantly more likely to report reduced anxiety compared to those who had not received the training (Month 1 P = 0.002; Month 2 P < 0.001; Month 3 P = 0.001). After one month, seven of the intervention group (n = 10) had completed the relaxation training as directed and planned to continue using it. The intervention appeared practical to deliver and relatively inexpensive, with minimal adverse effects. Conclusions: Preliminary evidence suggests that autogenic relaxation training delivered in a self-help CD format is a feasible and acceptable intervention, and that anxiety is reduced in stroke survivors who received the intervention. Future studies should seek to recruit a larger and more heterogeneous sample of 70 participants.
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