Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mary Peterson, PhD, ABPP/CL, Chair

Second Advisor

Glena Andrews, PhD, MSCP, ABPP, Member

Third Advisor

Brooke Kuhnhausen, PhD, Member


The transition to college is a critical developmental period during which young adults are uniquely vulnerable to high stress and anxiety due to the overwhelming demands of academic, social, emotional, and financial adjustment. This developmental transition often requires students to generalize previously developed self-regulatory skills, which are closely tied to early attachment patterns with caregivers (Feeney, 2000). Research continues to support the evidence for biofeedback as a promising psychophysiological intervention, especially when used in conjunction with relaxation techniques (Lynch & McGrady, 2006). The present study explored attachment style and the effectiveness a biofeedback-guided relaxation intervention on the ability to self-regulate among college students. Pre-intervention measures included self-reported general self-efficacy (GSE) and attachment style, as well as ability to self-regulate through a biofeedback procedure. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group and control group. The control group participants practiced the 5-minute relaxation intervention on their own 5 times per week, for 4 weeks. The intervention group participants also practiced the relaxation intervention on their own 5 times per week for 4 weeks but received an additional biofeedback-guided intervention session each week with the opportunity to visually monitor their physiological responses. Post-intervention measures included the self-reported GSE measure and the biofeedback procedure used in the pre-intervention session.

The biofeedback data results showed there was no significant difference in ability to selfregulate based on the biofeedback-guided relaxation intervention. However, there was statistical significance in ability to self-regulate according to attachment style. The hypothesis that securely attached individuals would demonstrate a higher ability to self-regulate compared to the nonsecurely attached groups was not supported, suggesting important clinical implications for how attachment style may impact one’s response to distress and ability to learn self-regulatory skills. Finally, results from the GSE self-report data showed a significant increase in perceived selfefficacy for individuals post-intervention. Though initial results did not show a significant difference in GSE scores based on the biofeedback-guided intervention, once pre-intervention GSE scores were covaried, the results showed a significant difference between intervention and control groups. Consistent with the biofeedback results, there was a significant difference in GSE scores between the different attachment styles.

Included in

Psychology Commons