Synergism, a treatment for the reduction of self-perceived stress and anxiety : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology

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Massey University
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SYNERGISM is a treatment for the reduction of self-perceived stress and anxiety. SYNERGISM is a new technology for psychological intervention and does not rest on any previous technology. The rationale for the development of this new technique comprises the whole of the Literature Review of this thesis. SYNERGISM was developed on the basis of Patel's (1976) Savasan. No component analysis has been conducted to identify the critical variables in Savasan. Two reviews were conducted following the literature review which identified the critical variables, first in Savasan then in SYNERGISM. Three experiments were conducted to examine the effects of SYNERGISM. It was hypothesised that Synergism would significantly reduce self-perceived stress. The first experiment established Cattell and Scheier's (1963) IPAT Anxiety Scale Questionnaire and its criterion score as a valid measure of self-perceived stress in a New Zealand student group. This Baseline Group consisted of 121 psychology students at Massey University. The second experiment then examined the effectiveness of Synergism to significantly reduce self-perceptions of stress in a group of 10 High Anxiety (Hi Anx) subjects, with a Control Group of 10 matching Hi Anx subjects. The statistical results, using analysis of variance (ANOVA) on IPAT-SAQ indicated significant reduction in self-perceived stress, as a result of SYNERGISM. A third experiment was conducted using a SYNERGISM and a Placebo treatment condition with 10 subjects in each condition. Statistical analysis using ANOVA again demonstrated significant SYNERGISM treatment effects in reduction of self-perceived anxiety on the IPAT-SAQ measure. Further detailed analysis using Shostrom's (1966) Personal Orientation Inventory proved a more complex study. Two critical treatment variables in SYNERGISM are Heart Rate (HR) and Respiration Rate (RR). A great deal of attention is given these variables in the literature review. Analysis of HR/RR using a Self-Monitoring Schedule (SMS) demonstrated significant reductions in these variables. This was an important therapy finding. Each experiment was conducted over a ten week period. Total elapsed time for the complete experiments was 24 weeks. The results established that SYNERGISM is an effective technology for the significant reduction of self-perceived stress. It is evident that further studies are required to assess the efficacy of SYNERGISM as a new technology for psychological intervention using non-pharmacologic strategies.
Stress (Psychology), Anxiety