Breathing Training as a Self-Regulatory Stress Reduction Method for Asthma Prone Individuals

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John Alcorn

Advisor Department



This study investigated the effects of a self-regulatory stress reduction breathing strategy on the reduction of asthma response behavior. Subjects receiving self-regulatory breathing training strategies (BT) were compared with those receiving self-regulatory autogenic training (AT) and assessment only with delayed training (DT). The dependent measures obtained to determine the effectiveness of training included values of (a) respiratory rate (R) and expiratory effort (FVC and FEV(,1)%), (b) state anxiety (STAI); and (c) scores of intensity of asthma response and skills utilization as measured by the asthma response inventory developed (ARI) for the study. Six asthmatic subjects were randomly assigned to each of the three conditions. Subjects of the study included 18 well adult volunteers. The study was conducted over a twelve week period which included an intake session, five training sessions, an exit session, and a follow-up telephone interview. Prepost session measures were obtained. The data of the repeated measures ANOVA design were analyzed with a BMDP computerized program. Neuman Keuls multiple comparisons were applied to significant F tests. As predicted, subjects of the group receiving training in stress reduction breathing strategies (BT) were more effective than those of the AT and DT groups in attaining decreased respiratory rates, decreased frequency and intensity of asthma episodes, and increased utilization of stress reduction skills. Improvements in expiratory effort were equally attained by the BT and AT groups, and levels of anxiety were found to decrease over prepost assessment for all groups (BT, AT, and DT), regardless of treatment condition or session. The generalizability of findings relative to the effects of training on altering respiratory rates are limited by initial pretest differences which existed between the groups. Supported is the conclusion that self-regulatory stress reduction breathing strategies can be used for decreasing asthma response behaviors.