Relaxation-induced anxiety in a subclinical sample of chronically anxious subjects

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1988 Sep;19(3):193-8. doi: 10.1016/0005-7916(88)90040-7.


Recent reports indicate that some individuals experience increased anxiety during formal relaxation training; however, there has been just one controlled investigation of this phenomenon (Heide and Borkovec, 1983). The present study was designed to replicate and extend the findings of Heide and Borkovec by providing evidence of "relaxation-induced anxiety" during one session of taped progressive relaxation training. Thirty chronically anxious subjects (21 females, 9 males) participated. Five subjects (17%) reported increased anxiety during the session. Personality measures indicated that relaxation-induced anxiety may be associated with an internal locus of control, a generalized fear of becoming anxious, and a fear of losing control.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Arousal*
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Relaxation Therapy*