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A Controlled Evaluation of Devotional Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Journal of Psychology & Theology (1988)
  • Charles R. Carlson
  • Panayiota E. Bacaseta
  • Dexter A. Simanton

The present study was conducted to determine the effects of devotional meditation (DM), defined as a period of prayer and quiet reading and pondering of biblical material, on physiological and psychological variables related to stress. It was hypothesized that religious persons engaging in DM experience physiological and psychological changes similar to those reported for persons using progressive relaxation (PR) exercises. Thirty-six participants, equally divided by sex into 3 groups: DM, PR, and a Wait List Control, underwent extensive psychophysiological assessment prior to and following a systematic introductio to either DM or PR. The hypothesis that DM could generate positive physiological and psychological effects similar to PR was partially confirmed. The results of the study are discussed in terms of the unique spiritual resources inherent among a Christian population that might foster physiological and psychological relaxation.

  • meditation,
  • prayer,
  • stress,
  • relaxation,
  • psychology
Publication Date
Winter 1988
Citation Information
Charles R. Carlson, Panayiota E. Bacaseta and Dexter A. Simanton. "A Controlled Evaluation of Devotional Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation" Journal of Psychology & Theology Vol. 16 (1988)
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