The Assessment of Subjective Tension Levels Among Several Muscle Groups: The Tension Manequin

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The present paper introduces the Tension Mannequin, a self-report questionnaire on which tension levels of various muscle groups are rated. In Experiment 1 this instrument was administered to 44 normal adults preceding and following relaxation training. Questionnaire results revealed that subjects used three tension level ratings across muscles. Only 14% of the sample rated all muscle groups identically. Pre-training correlations between the individual muscle ratings and a general rating of tension suggested that the general rating was made by averaging tension in various muscle sites. The questionnaire appeared to be sensitive to the effects of relaxation training since pre- and post-comparisons of all muscle groups were significantly different. Experiment 2 investigated whether the questionnaire would differentiate subjects suffering at least three tension headaches per week from those reporting less than three. Results revealed that the frequent headache group had greater subjective tension in the forehead and neck. A case example illustrates how the Tension Mannequin revealed the importance of back discomport to a patient's experience of tension headaches and general tension.

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Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, v. 15, issue 4, p. 323-328