Stress Management in Elementary School Students: a Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial

Katerina Sofianopoulou, Flora Bacopoulou, Dimitrios Vlachakis, Ioulia Kokka, Evaggelos Alexopoulos, Liza Varvogli, George P. Chrousos, Christina Darviri


Research has shown that stress experiences begin in early stages of life. Stress management techniques have appeared to be beneficial for the development or enhancement of stress coping skills. The aim of this pilot randomised controlled trial was to assess the effect of a 12-week intervention, comprising training in diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscular relaxation, on elementary school students’ stress levels. Outcomes on the quality of life and behavioural aspects of the students were also assessed. Standardised questionnaires were administered at baseline and after the 12-week intervention program. Fifty-two children aged 10 to 11 years were randomly assigned to intervention (n=24) and control groups (n=28). Children of the intervention group demonstrated lower levels of stress (in all three subscales of lack of well-being, distress, and lack of social support) and improved aspects of quality of life (physical, emotional, and school functioning). No significant differences were observed regarding the examined behavioural dimensions, in the intervention group. Larger randomised controlled trials with follow-up evaluations are needed to ascertain the positive outcomes of such programs on elementary school children.


child; student; stress; school; quality of life; progressive muscular relaxation; intervention; diaphragmatic breathing

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