Relaxation training for anxiety: A ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis

Francesco Pagnini, Gianluca Castelnuovo, Enrico Molinari, Gm Manzoni

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

219 Citazioni (Scopus)


Background: Relaxation training is a common treatment for anxiety problems. Lacking is a recent quantitative meta-analysis that enhances understanding of the variability and clinical significance of anxiety reduction outcomes after relaxation treatment. Methods: All studies (1997-2007), both RCT, observational and without control group, evaluating the efficacy of relaxation training (Jacobson's progressive relaxation, autogenic training, applied relaxation and meditation) for anxiety problems and disorders were identified by comprehensive electronic searches with Pubmed, Psychinfo and Cochrane Registers, by checking references of relevant studies and of other reviews. Our primary outcome was anxiety measured with psychometric questionnaires. Meta-analysis was undertaken synthesizing the data from all trials, distinguishing within and between effect sizes. Results: 27 studies qualified for the inclusion in the meta-analysis. As hypothesized, relaxation training showed a medium-large effect size in the treatment of anxiety. Cohen's d was .57 (95% CI: .52 to .68) in the within analysis and .51 (95% CI: .46 to .634) in the between group analysis. Efficacy was higher for meditation, among volunteers and for longer treatments. Implications and limitations are discussed. Conclusion: The results show consistent and significant efficacy of relaxation training in reducing anxiety. This meta-analysis extends the existing literature through facilitation of a better understanding of the variability and clinical significance of anxiety improvement subsequent to relaxation training. © 2008 Manzoni et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
RivistaBMC Psychiatry
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2008


  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cochrane Library
  • Humans
  • Meditation
  • Patient Selection
  • PsycINFO
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Research Design
  • anxiety
  • anxiety disorder
  • article
  • autogenic training
  • classification
  • clinical trial
  • cognitive therapy
  • confidence interval
  • effect size
  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • human
  • information retrieval
  • meditation
  • meta analysis
  • methodology
  • observational study
  • panic
  • patient selection, Anxiety
  • phobia
  • questionnaire
  • relaxation training
  • social phobia
  • systematic review
  • therapy effect
  • virtual reality
  • volunteer


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