Comparing Brief Stress Management Courses in a Community Sample: Mindfulness Skills and Progressive Relaxation

John D. Agee,, PhD1 , Sharon Danoff-Burg, PhD2, Christoffer A. Grant, MA2

In a study conducted by John d. Agee, PhD, Sharon Danoff-Burg, PhD, and Christoffer A. Grant, MA, a five-week mindfulness meditation (MM) course was compared to a five-week course that taught progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Forty-three adults from the community were randomly assigned to either MM (n = 19) or PMR (n = 24) courses. Mindfulness meditation participants practiced meditation significantly more often than PMR participants practiced relaxation during the intervention period. Interestingly, the two conditions did not differ significantly in their posttreatment levels of relaxation or mindfulness. Although there were no differences between groups on any of the primary outcome measures, across both treatment conditions there were statistically significant reductions from pretreatment to posttreatment in general psychological distress. Thus, although MM did not emerge as clearly superior to PMR, results of this study suggest that a brief mindfulness skills course may be effective for stress management.


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