Journal of Psychological Abnormalities

ISSN - 2471-9900


Relaxation and Guided Imagery for Parents of Offspring with Developmental Disabilities

Melissa Bray, Melissa Root, Nicholas Gelbar, Mary Beth Bruder and Victoria Menzies

This pilot study employed a randomized control trial that tested a relaxation and guided imagery (RGI) intervention on self-perceptions of state and trait anxiety, depression, sleep quality, and stress. Parents of offspring with developmental disabilities have been shown to have higher levels of stress than parents of typically developing offspring. This study was designed to meet the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) conceptual framework, which encourages early studies to demonstrate a measurable effect of an intervention prior to designing a largescale study. It is thus intentionally small in scale. Participants were recruited through social media advertisements posted through health and disability-related organizations. Forty-two people responded to recruitment materials, 20 participants began the study and 14 completed the study. Results showed decreased scores on levels of state and trait anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory), depression (Beck’s Depression Inventory) and stress (Perceived Stress Scale-10) for the treatment group with improvements across both groups in sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index). The sleep quality measurement was confounded by sleep medication use that was not measured in detail in this study. Further, participants rated the RGI intervention positively on a consumer satisfaction scale. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed, such as alterations to dependent variable completion timing.