Assessing the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a telehealth psychoeducation and progressive muscle relaxation programme over three weeks in adult females

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Authors
Taylor, Hannah Letitia Colcomb
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Degree
Master of Osteopathy
Grantor
Unitec, Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology
Date
2023
Supervisors
Hach, Sylvia
Aminian, Saeiden
Type
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
women
stress
perceived stress
psychological stress
muscle relaxation
stress management education
telehealth
osteopathic medicine
Citation
Taylor, H.L.C. (2023). Assessing the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a telehealth psychoeducation and progressive muscle relaxation programme over three weeks in adult females (An unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Osteopathy) Unitec, Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology https://hdl.handle.net/10652/6327
Abstract
INTRODUCTION AND AIM Chronic stress is associated with a broad range of adverse health outcomes, and there is a particularly high incidence of stress among women. The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise in global stress levels and contributed to increased utilisation of telehealth in place of, or as an adjunct to, face-to-face healthcare. As stress is complex and multidimensional, there is a need for a multi-modal approach to stress management. Psychoeducation (PE) and progression muscle relaxation (PMR) are effective stress management tools; however, there is limited research on online multi-modal stress management programmes that incorporate PE and PMR. Therefore, the aim of this project was to conduct a pilot study assessing the feasibility of an online combined PE and PMR therapy programme on reducing stress in women. METHOD An uncontrolled, nonrandomised, feasibility (pilot) interventional trial with a mixed pragmatic and exploratory design and a mixed-methodological approach was conducted. A therapy programme consisting of brief PE and guided PMR was delivered using videoconferencing over three sessions on three consecutive weeks. Participants completed psychometric questionnaires to assess perceived stress and mood, and participant and researcher feedback was collected via semi-structured questions and informal discussions. Feasibility data underwent qualitative analysis using a descriptive method and psychometric data underwent t-test analysis. RESULTS A total of eight female participants (age range 26 to 64, mean age 45) were enrolled, with a 100% retention rate. All aspects of the therapy programme (recruitment and retention; application of PE and PMR; duration and period of programme application; use of psychometric tools; application of programme via telehealth; and data collection) were feasible and participants felt “relaxed” after the sessions with no reported adverse effects. Significant decreases were observed across participants in all measures of perceived stress (all p = <.005) and all measures of negative mood (e.g., anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, tension, all p = <.03). CONCLUSIONS The application of the online therapy programme was feasible, and preliminary evidence may indicate the programme’s potential effectiveness on perceived stress. Future studies may benefit by employing a randomised controlled study design with a larger sample size that serves a broader population demographic, including Māori. The addition of objective measures such as heart rate variability may help to strengthen the interpretation of any future findings.
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