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Minerva Psichiatrica 2018 December;59(4):177-80

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1772.18.01987-8


lingua: Inglese

Progressive muscle relaxation training: classic technique and virtual reality for psychotic patients

Caterina FUSCO 1 , Marianna DI NUNZIO 2, Antonietta MOCCIA 2

1 ASL Napoli 2 Nord, Naples, Italy; 2 Mercurio d’Oro Nonprofit Cooperative, Naples, Italy

BACKGROUND: Anxiety and stress are relevant factors for mental diseases, because they can make the symptoms worse and induce relapses of psychotic disease. The aim of this study is to show the benefit of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) with virtual reality (VR) for psychotic patients and train them to recognize the symptom generated from anxiety and stress, teaching a functional copying strategy in order to achieve a state of psycho-physical well-being and preventing potential relapse.
METHODS: The study, compliant with the Declaration of Helsinki, involved 22 patients with psychiatric disorders, guests of rehabilitative psychiatric facilities at medium intensity. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups: one experimental, treated with PMR in VR (N.=11) and the other one treated with classic PMR control (N.=11). All the patients completed the survey with 10 meetings in total and the anxiety level was assessed with the BAI and STAI-Y tests in three time periods: at the beginning, at the end and after 6 months after the PMR with VR.
RESULTS: The results of this work show that PMR in VR is more effective than classical relaxation. The results with BAI (t=0.006; with P<0.01) and STAI-Y (t=0.004; with P<0.005) are statistically relevant and confirmed that PMR with VR give better results than classic PMR.
CONCLUSIONS: With PMR in VR, thanks to rapid and incisive learning, it was easier to connect the learning protocol to the context of real life by applying the technique to the first signs of anxiety.

KEY WORDS: Schizophrenia - Virtual reality - Anxiety - Psychotic disorders - Muscle relaxation

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