The Effects Of Multimodal Imagery Treatment On Hypertension

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a multimodal imagery therapy as a treatment for hypertension. A secondary purpose was to examine specified psychological variables, anxiety, as measured by the Trait Scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and locus of control, as measured by Levenson's I, P, and C Scales, as they related to hypertension and the outcome of treatment.Thirty subjects with medically diagnosed essential hypertension and on stabilized dosages of hypotensive medications, were randomly assigned to either the multimodal imagery group, a progressive relaxation group, or a medication-only control group, ten subjects per group. Each subject participated in two baseline sessions, pretesting and posttesting. Subjects in the imagery and relaxation groups also attended five treatment sessions. Blood pressure measurements were taken at the beginning and at the end of each session. The imagery treatment combined imaging of the body with education and relaxation.Results. The major findings of this study were that reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly greater in the imagery group than in both the relaxation and control groups. Subjects in the imagery group reduced their systolic blood pressure an average of 9.2 mmHg. and their diastolic blood pressure an average of 8.6 mmHg. The relaxation group did not differ significantly from the control group on blood pressure changes. Most of the results regarding the psychological variables were not significant. Successful subjects were significantly more compliant than unsuccessful subjects.Conclusions. (1) The use of this short-term multimodal imagery therapy can be very effective in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (2) Short-term progressive relaxation is not effective in lowering blood pressure, at least in terms of immediately identifiable effects. (3) Compliance may affect the success of a psychological treatment for hypertension. (4) The role of psychological variables in hypertension and its treatment is uncertain.


Psychology, Clinical

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