Objective: We perform a systematically search, appraise and synthesize of the best available evidence on the effectiveness of Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) in the adults with schizophrenia, in any setting, regarding anxiety, personal and social functioning, cognition, and well-being.
Method: Major databases were searched to find both published and unpublished studies from inception until April 2017, using Schizophren* AND Relax* as keywords, and studies published in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French were considered for inclusion in this review. Methodological quality was assessed by two independent reviewers using the Critical Appraisal Checklist for Randomized Controlled Trials from the Joanna Briggs Institute.
Results: From a total of 1172 studies, five studies, involving 216 adults with schizophrenia, met the inclusion criteria for this systematic review after assessment of their methodological quality. These studies reported benefits in experimental group participants after PMR intervention on anxiety (assessed with State anxiety inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory and Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory), well-being (assessed with Subjective Exercise Experiences Scale) and personal and social functioning (assessed with Sheehan Disability Scale and Therapist Rating Scale).
Conclusions: Evidence suggests that PMR was effective in adults diagnosed with schizophrenia, except in one study where was only effective when combined with education. Thus, PMR may be useful to decrease state anxiety, improve well-being and social functioning in adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. However, due to the diversity of clinical intervention designs of PMR (different number and length of sessions) and outcome assessment scales, no strong evidence was found in this systematic review.