Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Paul D. Overton


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a video recorded ocean scene as a relaxation technique by comparing it with an established method, progressive relaxation training (Jacobson, 1938) on their ability to affect the following physiological measurements: systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse, and respiration.

Thirty female elementary school teachers participated in this study and were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: Video Recorded Ocean Scene Group, Progressive Relaxation Training Group, and Self Directed Relaxation Group (used as control). The general protocol for each treatment group consisted of a forty minute session with the first five minutes designated as pretreatment, the next thirty minutes as treatment, and the final five minutes being post treatment. Each subject was exposed to only one treatment for one session.

Matched pair t-tests were used to examine differences between pretest and posttest measures of the video recorded ocean scene technique. The tests yielded significant effects (p < .05) on all four physiological indicators indicating a group decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressures, pulse, and respiration for those subjects treated with the video recorded ocean scene.

Separate one-way analyses of variance were performed for each dependent measure (calculated F values found in Table 5). Main effects were obtained for all measures: Systolic Blood Pressure, F (2,27) = 8.34, p < .05; Diastolic Blood Pressure, F (2,27) = 19.61 p < .05; Respiration F (2,27) = 3.81 p < .05. All dependent measures, with the exception of pulse, demonstrated significance at the .05 level.

When significant main effects were obtained, Tukey-Snedecor's test for comparison between group means was performed to detect significance between group differences. The results of the Tukey-Snedecor test indicate no significant differences among the three treatment groups used.

The results of this study indicate that a multimodal approach to relaxation training may be effective in creating the relaxation response cited by Benson (1975). It also suggests that the external visual mode, used in the video treatment, is effective, in combination with the external auditory mode, in decreasing physiological activity, of systolic and diastolic blood pressures, pulse, and respiration. The decrease in metabolic activity of the control group, gave support to Benson's criterion for treatment environment necessary to elicit the relaxation response and suggests the possibility that formal treatment is not necessarily a prerequisite for relaxation. The study also indicates that none of the techniques used was significantly better. In light of these findings, the therapist may find the use of the video recorded ocean scene a useful therapeutic tool for some populations. Further investigation would be helpful in determining its overall usefulness.

Graduate Program

Educational Psychology and Guidance