PurposeHigh levels of stress reported at college campuses has led to the need for stress management interventions. College students often do not know how to deal with the increase in stress during college which may lead to ineffective ways to manage stress, such as drugs, alcohol, and under the worst circumstance, suicide. Several universities have implemented stress relieving centers where students can participate in various modalities to relax and reduce symptoms of stress. The purpose of this paper is to compare four stress reduction modalities on the amount of physiologic and perceived stress (PS) reduction in a stress relief center.Design/methodology/approachArchival information of 5,526 students (2,759 female, 2,767 male) were analyzed. During their time at the relaxation center, these students would participate in one of four relaxation modalities (massage chair, chi machine, rejuvenation lounger, or sitting meditation). Upon entering and exiting the center, PS, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate (HR) were measured. The dependent variables were compared from pre- to post-relaxation with paired tests. Gain scores were calculated for each dependent variable and compared between modalities with an ANOVA and post hoc independent t-tests. The α was set at=0.05 for statistical significance.FindingsResults indicated that all four modalities showed an overall decrease in stress-related symptoms for both men and women (p<0.05). There was no statistical difference in dependent variable gain scores between the relaxation modalities (p>0.05) for men. There was no statistical difference in dependent variable gain scores between the relaxation modalities (p>0.05) for women except for SBP and DBP where the massage chair, chi machine, and sitting meditation all reduced SBP and DBP to a greater degree than the rejuvenation lounger (p<0.05).Originality/valueThe results of this study suggest that the use of these stress reduction modalities (massage chair, chi machine, rejuvenation lounger, or sitting meditation) is effective at transiently reducing physiologic and perceived measures of stress of college students. Universities should recognize the importance of stress relief centers in order to help students manage stress symptoms and effectively manage their daily stress levels.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 5, 2018