Integrating a relaxation response-based curriculum into a public high school in Massachusetts

J Adolesc. 2012 Apr;35(2):325-32. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.08.008. Epub 2011 Sep 3.


Academic and societal pressures result in U.S. high school students feeling stressed. Stress management and relaxation interventions may help students increase resiliency to stress and overall well-being. The objectives of this study were to examine the feasibility (enrollment, participation and acceptability) and potential effectiveness (changes in perceived stress, anxiety, self-esteem, health-promoting behaviors, and locus of control) of a relaxation response (RR)-based curriculum integrated into the school day for high school students. The curriculum included didactic instruction, relaxation exercises, positive psychology, and cognitive restructuring. The intervention group showed significantly greater improvements in levels of perceived stress, state anxiety, and health-promoting behaviors when compared to the wait list control group. The intervention appeared most useful for girls in the intervention group. The results suggest that several modifications may increase the feasibility of using this potentially effective intervention in high schools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Curriculum
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Psychological Tests
  • Relaxation Therapy / education*
  • Schools / organization & administration*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control