Progressive relaxation training methodology for use with deaf persons
Markowitz, Dave G.
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Muscular tension caused by the stresses of daily living may produce a number of detrimental effects on an individual. Many researchers have documented physiological as well as psychological impairments related to excessive tension. Several methodologies have been developed which are used to train individuals to relax as a means of dealing with tension. It has been reported that deafness contributes a highly stressful environment to an individual's daily life. The effects of tension may influence a deaf individual's educational achievement, work adjustment, family life and social relationships. Hearing impaired individuals have been largely unable to benefit from traditional relaxation training methodologies due to communicational difficulties. This study serves as an initial attempt to determine the potential for modifying relaxation training methodology to meet the needs of deaf individuals. In this study, progressive relaxation training methodology was presented in a visual mode of communication to a fifty nine-year-old, prelingually deaf woman. Training sessions were approximately forty-five minutes in length and were held once each week for ten weeks. Two additional deaf women of approximately the same age were brought to the research environment for sessions without training. The second subject was also seen for ten weekly sessions. The third subject was seen for only two sessions which were held ten weeks apart. The subjects' heart rate and respiration rate were recorded continuously throughout all sessions. In addition, the subjects were videotaped during all sessions. Relaxation was assessed by submitting the values for heart rate and respiration rate to statistical analyses. In addition, the videotapes of the subjects were rated by five trained observers. The major finding of this study was that the subjects' level of relaxation was affected by a number of variables in addition to the training procedure. Several recommendations have been made for improving future research in the field of relaxation training for deaf persons.