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An investigation into the effects of gum chewing on mood and cortisol levels during psychological stress

By Andrew B. Scholey

Abstract

In the 40-person study of gum chewers averaging an age of 22 years old, performed on the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS), a multi-tasking platform which reliably induces stress and also includes performance measures, while chewing and not chewing gum. Anxiety, alertness and stress levels were measured before and after participants completed the DISS. When chewing gum, participants reported lower levels of anxiety. Gum chewers showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17 percent during mild stress and nearly 10 percent in moderate stress. Participants experienced greater levels of alertness when they chewed gum. Gum chewers showed improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers by nearly 19 percent during mild stress and 8 percent in moderate stress. Stress levels were lower in participants who chewed gum. Levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16 percent during mild stress and nearly 12 percent in moderate stress. Chewing gum resulted in a significant improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities. Both gum-chewers and non-chewers showed improvement from their baseline scores; however, chewing gum improved mean performance scores over non-gum chewers by 67 percent during moderate stress and 109 percent in mild stress

Topics: Alertness, Anxiety, Chewing gum, Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation, DISS, Mood, Multitasking, Psychological stress, Salivary cortisol levels, Wrigley
Publisher: International Society of Behavioral Medicine
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:vtl.cc.swin.edu.au:swin:8630
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