Effectiveness of voluntary heart rate control in reducing speech anxiety

Robert Joseph Gatchel, Janet D. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Investigated the effects of learned control of heart rate (HR) deceleration and therapeutic expectancy set in reducing speech anxiety in 36 speech-anxious undergraduates. HR control training and no training conditions were each paired with high-therapeutic-expectancy and neutral expectancy instructions to assess the individual and combined effects of the 2 factors. Results demonstrate that learning to control HR deceleration led to a significant reduction in self-report, physiological (HR and skin conductance level), and overt signs of anxiety, relative to the no-HR control condition. High-therapeutic-expectancy instructions also contributed to a reduction in self-reported anxiety. Results show that learned HR control is an effective therapeutic technique for reducing anxiety. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-389
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1976


  • heart rate control training &
  • therapeutic expectancy set, reduction of speech anxiety, speech-anxious college students


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