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Research Article  |   June 1987
The Effects of Deep Pressure Touch on Anxiety
Author Affiliations
  • Kirsten E. Krauss, MA, OTR, at the time of this study, was an instructor, Occupational Therapy Department, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama. She currently is a student at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. (Address inquiries to 887 27th Avenue, SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414.)
Article Information
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Research Article   |   June 1987
The Effects of Deep Pressure Touch on Anxiety
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 1987, Vol. 41, 366-373. doi:10.5014/ajot.41.6.366
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 1987, Vol. 41, 366-373. doi:10.5014/ajot.41.6.366
Abstract

Occupational therapists who work with hyperactive children and adults who are in an aroused state sometimes employ deep pressure touch (DPT) as a therapeutic method to achieve calmer behavior. This pilot study attempts to measure effects of DPT on objective and subjective anxiety. Twenty-three healthy college students, serving as their own controls, self-administered DPT via a specially designed apparatus. Heart rate and self-reported anxiety were compared under conditions of DPT (experimental) and confinement without DPT (control). Data on subjects’ trait anxiety also were analyzed. Although the group as a whole did not relax significantly more under experimental conditions than under control conditions, the degree of subjective relaxation was greater in the experimental group. These results, coupled with a significant intragroup difference in the response of subjects with high trait anxiety, were encouraging. This study provides direction and focus to investigators interested in further research on the validation of an empirically useful treatment technique.