Assessment of Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) as a Stress-Reducing Technique for First-Year Veterinary Students.

Author: Allison S, Hamilton KI, Yuan Y, Hague GW
Conference/Journal: J Vet Med Educ.
Date published: 2019 Nov 15
Other: Volume ID: e20180013 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3138/jvme.2018-0013. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 231

The veterinary profession continually strives to address wellness issues such as compassion fatigue, burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression. Wellness issues may begin during the professional curriculum when students experience intense academic, clinical, social, and personal demands on their time. The purpose of this study was to assess the use of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) as a simple, non-invasive stress reduction technique for first-year veterinary students (n = 101) at a US veterinary college. Students completed a 38-item questionnaire, the Smith Relaxation States Inventory 3 (SRSI3), both before and after performing PMR. Scores for the categories of basic relaxation, mindfulness, positive energy, transcendence, and stress were assessed. Female students (n = 92) had significant (p < .05) improvement in basic relaxation, mindfulness, and stress after completing PMR. Male students (n = 9) had significant (p < .05) improvement in basic relaxation and stress after completing PMR. When grouped according to age, all students had significant (p < .05) improvement in the categories of basic relaxation and stress. Students in the 22-year-old (n = 31), 23-year-old (n = 29), 24-year-old (n = 15), and 25-year-old or greater (n = 17) groups also had significant improvement (p < .05) in mindfulness. Additionally, students in the 23-year-old group had significant (p < .05) improvement in positive energy. These results support the use of PMR as a potential self-care strategy for students to implement during their academic and professional careers.

KEYWORDS: progressive muscle relaxation; self-care; stress; student affairs; student health and well-being

PMID: 31738679 DOI: 10.3138/jvme.2018-0013