Psychophysiological Medicine: A Measurable Metamorphosis of Type A Executive Stress


Browne, Thomas G.


Ph.D; Psychology; Board certified EEG/Biofeedback Institute; Trinity College, Dublin B.Sc.

This research study,one of the first of its kind is a controlled comparison of the effectiveness of two established psycho- physiological treatments on the reduction of stress and behavior-related clinical cardiac symptoms in Type A Executives utilizing a brain-based Neurofeedback or electro- encephalography (EEG) treatment for one randomly selected and assigned group and a Heart Rate Variability treatment for a second group. A third non-treatment group was also measured as a control factor, in order to be able to make a statement regarding potential generalizeability of the outcome possible. Results showed some statistically greater improvements in measures of stress and symptom reduction for the EEG Treatment group by comparison with those who r eceived the Heart Rate Variability Treatment and those who received no treatment.

This work contributed to the field of Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback Professional Clinical Treatment and was the first controlled true experimental study (three groups) with a Type A population in a medical environment. The study showed that even those individuals with excessively high levels of competitiveness in business and in executive positions were capable of learning how to modify their own brain electrical activity characteristics that resulted in greater awareness of their own physiological boundaries and more healthful behavior that improved the quality of their lives with enhanced health, social and domestic relationships.

Chapter I. Introduction:

Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback; Conceptualization of Stress; Hyperventilation; Purpose of the Study; Statement of the Research Question; Background of the Research Problem; Dissertation Concept Organizational Model; Unique Features of the Study:

Chapter II. Review of the Literature

Traditional and Bio-Psycho-Social Approaches; The Biopsychosocial Approach; Clinical Relaxation, Meditation, and Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback; Original Case Study and Replication; Science and Spirituality; Meditation; EEG Theta Enhancement and Meditation; Applied Electroencephalograph (EEG) Biofeedback or Neuronal Feedback (NFB); Baroreceptors; Heart Rate Research; Stressors, Stress and Behavior; Behavioral Type and Stress; Coping Behavior; Stress and the Immune System; Stress and Illness; Psychoneuroinmmunology (PNI); Hormonal Influence; Glucocorticoids; Catecholamines; Brain Mechanisms in Stress; Significance of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (LHPA) Effects on the Immune System; Cytokines as Immunotransmitters; Conclusions;

Chapter III. Methodology and Design

Hypothesis; Research Design; Variables; Derogatis Stress Profile (DSP); Quantification of Psychological Stress; End-Tidal CO2; Capnometer; Heart Rate; Qualitative Variable; Procedures; Participants: Selection and Eligibility Criteria; Randomization Protocol; Sample Development and Characteristics; Demographics; Complaints; Medications; Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Treatment Technique; Alpha/Theta Neuronal Feedback; Theta Enhancement Neuronal Feedback; Control Group; Recorded Data; Follow Up; Data Analysis; Qualitative Analysis;

Chapter IV. Results

Primary Measurements; Baseline Descriptive Statistics for the Dependent Variables; Baseline Comparisons of Group Means for the DSP Variables; Summary of 3 x 2 ANOVAs for DSP Domains and Global Indices; Summary of 3 x 2 ANOVAs for DSP Dimensions; Comparisons Between Treatment Groups on Pre-Post Changes in DSP Variables; Mean Plot of “Personality Mediators” Domain Variable; Mean Plot of “Environmental Events” Domain Variable; Mean Plot of “Emotional Responses” Domain Variable; Mean Plot of “Total Stress Score” Global Index; Mean Plot of “Subjective Stress Score” Global Index; Physiological Data Results; Baseline Descriptive Statistics for Physiological Variables; Baseline Comparisons of Group Means for Physiological Variables; Summary of 3 x2 ANOVAS for Physiological Variables; Comparisons Between Treatment Groups (NFB vs. HRV) on Physiological Variables; Mean Plot of End Tidal CO2; Mean Plot of Heart Rate; Mean Plot of Theta Amplitude; Mean Plot of Respiration Rate; Pearson Correlations of (Pre-Post) Changes in Physiological and DSP Variables; Bargraph of Pre-Post Mean Stress Scores for All Three Groups; Bargraph of Main Effects of Reduction in Stress for all Three Groups; Bargraph of Pre-post Changes in Total Stress for all Three Groups; Bargraph of Pre-post Changes in ETCO2 for all Three Groups; Bargraph of Pre-Post Changes in Heart Rate for all three Groups; Bargraph of Pre-post Changes in EEG Theta Amplitude for all three groups; Bargraph of Pre-post Changes in Rate of Respiration for all Three groups; Qualitative Response; Table of Qualitative themes and frequencies for the NFB group; Table of Qualitative Themes and Frequencies for the HRV Group;

Chapter V. Discussion

DSP Primary Measurements; Physiological Data; Descriptive Statistics; Pre-post Group Means; ETCO2 ; Heart Rate; Theta Amplitude; Respiration Rate; Treatment Groups Mean Pre-post Changes; Pearson Correlation Coefficients; Qualitative Responses; Qualitative Results: Between Group Responses; Quantitative and Qualitative Results Comparisons; Implications for Further Research; Limitations of the Study; Questions of Spirituality; BioNeuronal Feedback Therapy: Mind over Body; Head Focus, Heart Focus, and Chakra Theory; Summary and Conclusions

Chapter VI. Bibliography

Appendices: Human Research Review; Consent Form; Derogatis Stress Profile Coefficients; Qualitative Questionnaire; Tables of Raw Data

Psychology, psycho-physiology, Neuro-Science, Heart Studies, Executive Studies, Type A behavior/measurement
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