Document Detail

Relaxation training and written emotional disclosure for tension or migraine headaches: a randomized, controlled trial.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18696172     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Behavioral medicine interventions that directly reduce arousal and negative emotions, such as relaxation training (RT), are conceptually different from interventions that temporarily increase negative emotions, such as written emotional disclosure (WED), but no studies have directly compared their efficacy. We compared the effects of RT and WED on people with tension or migraine headaches.
METHODS: College students with either tension (n = 51) or migraine (n = 90) headaches were randomized to one of three groups: RT, WED, or a neutral writing control condition; four sessions were held over 2 weeks. Mood was measured before and after each session, and outcomes (headache frequency, severity, disability, and general physical symptoms) were assessed at baseline and at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups.
RESULTS: As expected, RT led to an immediate increase in calmness, whereas WED led to an immediate increase in negative mood, for both headache samples. Intent-to-treat analyses showed that, for the tension headache sample, RT led to improved headache frequency and disability compared to both WED and the control group, but WED had no effect. For migraine headaches, RT improved pain severity relative to the control group, but WED again had no effect.
CONCLUSIONS: A brief RT protocol was effective for tension headaches, but WED had no effect on health status for either tension or migraine headaches. Modifications to WED, such as targeting people with unresolved stress, providing guidance to enhance the potency of the writing, or including additional at-home writing and exposure exercises, may improve its efficacy for people with headaches and other health problems.
Pamela J D'Souza; Mark A Lumley; Christina A Kraft; John A Dooley
Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-08-12
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine     Volume:  36     ISSN:  1532-4796     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann Behav Med     Publication Date:  2008 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-10-06     Completed Date:  2009-02-17     Revised Date:  2014-09-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8510246     Medline TA:  Ann Behav Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  21-32     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Follow-Up Studies
Migraine Disorders / psychology,  therapy*
Relaxation Therapy / methods*
Self Disclosure
Severity of Illness Index
Stress, Psychological / psychology,  therapy*
Students, Public Health
Tension-Type Headache / psychology,  therapy*
Treatment Outcome
Young Adult
Grant Support
AG009203/AG/NIA NIH HHS; AR049059/AR/NIAMS NIH HHS; R01 AG009203/AG/NIA NIH HHS; R01 AG009203-14/AG/NIA NIH HHS; R01 AR049059/AR/NIAMS NIH HHS; R01 AR049059-01A1/AR/NIAMS NIH HHS

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