This study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of biofeedback and relaxation skills training to help alleviate college students' stress symptoms. Data was collected from 659 full-time college students who attended a total of 1,170 biofeedback sessions over the course of two years. Results of the study indicated that the top three stress-related symptoms students experienced were (a) feeling overwhelmed, (b) feeling anxious, and (c) difficulty concentrating. Furthermore, the top three stressors rated by students were (a) too much to do, (b) homework, and (c) classes and school. In addition, the top three coping strategies utilized by students to manage their stress were (a) prayer, (b) exercise, and (c) talking to friends. Moreover, results also showed significant differences on all three pre and post measures regarding skin temperature readings, EMG readings, and students' subjective self-report ratings of degree of stress. Specifically, students' skin temperature increased and their muscle tension decreased, indicating less physiological tension at the end of the session. Furthermore, comparisons of students' self-report ratings of their degree of stress before and after the session indicated that they felt less stressed and more relaxed at the conclusion of the session. These findings lend support to the utility of colleges providing biofeedback and relaxation skills training as an intervention for college students to utilize. In this way students become empowered to self-regulate their stress symptoms and optimize their health. Indeed, students can utilize and benefit from these skills both during and beyond their college years.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





biofeedback, college students, coping, relaxation, stress