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Dissertation

he efficacy of using guided imagery to reduce stress and elevate mood in an individual with rheumatoid arthritis

10 December 1998

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease which affects the synovial tissue surrounding the joints. Inflammation and joint damage result in progressive disability. Sufferers experience pain, swelling, and stiffness as well as fatigue and general malaise. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an unpredictable disease, which predisposes patients to anxiety and depression. These psychological symptoms, in turn, may produce increased perceptions of pain, resulting in difficulty in performing activities of daily living. It has been found that patients who can express more personal control over their symptoms experience their disease as being more predictable, thus elevating mood and
reducing anxiety. It was the purpose of this single case study to determine if progressive relaxation and guided imagery led one rheumatoid arthritis sufferer to experience more control over her illness and improve her mood, as measured by the ProfIle of Mood States, the State-Trait Anxiety.Inventory, and the Health Attribution Test. Therapy consisted of two five week treatment periods, with a five week no-treatment in-between. Testing was completed before and after each five
week treatment period. There was one follow-up phone call six weeks after treatment. Results indicate that as a function of progressive relaxation and guided imagery, the subject of this study was able to reduce .anxiety and elevate mood.


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