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Pregnancy-Specific Guided Imagery Reduces Stress in Expectant Teen Mothers

22 Sep

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin examined the effects of a guided imagery intervention on the perceived stress of pregnant adolescents.

Thirty-five pregnant adolescents, recruited from a local alternative education program, participated in a guided imagery intervention, listening to a pregnancy-specific guided imagery recording on four separate occasions during their pregnancies.

Perceived stress was measured immediately before and after each session, using the Perceived Stress Measure-9 (PSM-9).

Participants' pre- and post-session PSM-9 scores for three of the four sessions demonstrated a significant reduction in stress. Subjects' baseline stress levels also decreased significantly across the four listening sessions.

The greatest reductions in stress within and between sessions occurred in the early sessions, with the effects diminishing over time.

The investigators conclude that pregnant teens experienced initial short- and long-term stress reduction during a guided imagery intervention, supporting the use of this mind-body technique to reduce stress in expectant adolescents.

Citation: Flynn TA, Jones BA, Ausderau KK. Guided Imagery and Stress in Pregnant Adolescents. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2016 Sep-Oct; 70 (5): 7005220020p1-7. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2016.019315.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award