Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver

Second Committee Member

Sheri L. Johnson

Third Committee Member

Jutta Joormann

Fourth Committee Member

Michael H. Antoni

Fifth Committee Member

Ihsan Salloum


Introduction: Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness, but medications and psychosocial approaches designed to treat it leave significant room for improvement. This study investigated Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), a treatment originally designed to reduce anxiety, as a way to reduce manic symptoms. Methods: Participants with bipolar I disorder (n = 44) were assigned via stratified randomization to complete PMR or a control condition (self-focused calming). Participants underwent a positive mood induction procedure, and completed several measures of manic symptoms at Session 1 and Session 2 (several weeks later). Results: Among those who experienced a successful positive mood induction, PMR and the control condition generally resulted in similar reductions in high-arousal positive affect. Participants who practiced PMR between the two sessions tended to experience greater reductions in positive affect at Session 2 compared to those who did not practice. Discussion: The relative parity of the PMR and control conditions suggests that people with bipolar I disorder have effective strategies for regulating positive emotions. Rather than teaching additional strategies, it may be more fruitful to develop methods for helping people with bipolar disorder to implement the strategies that work for them.


bipolar; mania; Progressive Muscle Relaxation