Cue-controlled relaxation and 'aromatherapy' in the treatment of speech anxiety

I. P. Spector, M. P. Carey, R. S. Jorgensen, A. W. Meisler, C. L.M. Carnrike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to examine the separate and combined effects of cue-controlled relaxation training and 'aromatherapy' as treatments for reducing speech anxiety. Thirty-six speech anxious subjects were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: cue-controlled relaxation with a word cue, cue-controlled relaxation with an aroma cue, 'aromatherapy' alone, and a wait list (i.e., control) group. Prior to treatment, subjects completed the Personal Report of Confidence as a Speaker, Fear of Negative Evaluation questionnaire, S-R Inventory of Anxiousness-Speech Form, Cognitive Somatic Anxiety Questionnaire, and Multiple Affect Adjective Check List; subjects also performed a speech which was rated for behavioral signs of anxiety. The assessment protocol was repeated following treatment, and at a two-month follow-up. Thirty-two of 36 subjects (89%) provided complete data at post-treatment, and 23 of 28 treated subjects (82%) provided complete data at follow-up. Results indicated that subjects in both cue-controlled relaxation conditions decreased their speech anxiety more than did the subjects in the aromatherapy or control conditions. There were no differences between word and aroma cues, nor did the aromatherapy group differ from the control group. Pre-treatment-post-treatment comparisons revealed that both relaxation groups improved after treatment on most self-report measures; however, no changes were noted on the behavioral measure. We conclude that (a) aroma cues appear to be no more effective than word cues, and (b) the affirmative claim made by advocates of aromatherapy are premature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-253
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioural Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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