An experiment comparing the effects of two techniques that elicit the relaxation response on stress reduction and cognitive functioning in first year law students at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between eliciting the relaxation response in first year law students and academic performance.;First year law students at Southern Illinois University ware chosen for this study. Law students were chosen because their course of study was rigorous and stress producing and every student had the same courses during the first year.;There were two treatment groups and a non-treatment control group. One treatment group was taught Benson\u27s Relaxation Procedure and the other was taught a classical eye fixation, self-hypnosis technique. Stress assessments were conducted every other week for an entire semester.;It was hypothesized that (1) the students would be able to lower their anxiety levels from the beginning of the term to the end of the term, (2) that the treatment groups would have lower stress levels than the non-treatment group and (3) that the self-hypnosis group with its motivational statements would show the greatest improvement in academic performance over the other two groups.;It was concluded that there were no significant differences between any of the groups. The treatment groups did not practice enough to be able to assess whether either of the techniques was helpful in reducing stress or in improving academic performance.;Further study is needed to determine if these techniques when used conscientiously will reduce stress and improve academic performance. In addition, comparisons between self-hypnosis and Benson\u27s relaxation procedure still need to be made to determine the role of relaxation in hypnosis

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This paper was published in College of William & Mary: W&M Publish.

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