The present study compared the relative efficacy of a behavioral stressmanagement procedure versus a pharmacologic method (the beta-blocker propranolol) in reducing psychophysiological reactivity in post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients. A pretreatment-posttreatment assessment design was used, with 10 patients participating in six separate sessions. The first session involved evaluating psychophysiological reactivity to an emotional stressor (a public-speaking task). The subsequent five sessions involved the administration of the respective treatments, either stress management or drug. The patients were randomly assigned to each treatment group. The public-speaking stressor was readministered after the last treatment session. Results demonstrated that behavioral stress management reduced psychophysiological reactivity to public speaking to the same level seen with propranolol. The findings suggest that this nonpharmacological approach could be of use when beta-blocker therapy is not desired, not practical, or medically contraindicated.
- emotional stressor
- post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients
- psychophysiological reactivity
- stress management