Author: Mehrsafar AH1, Strahler J2, Gazerani P3, Khabiri M4, Sánchez JCJ5, Moosakhani A6, Zadeh AM7
1Department of Sport Psychology, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2Department of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Sport Science, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany. Electronic address: email@example.com.
3Department of Health Science and Technology, School of Medicine and Health, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4Department of Sport Psychology, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: email@example.com.
5Department of Social Anthropology, Basic Psychology & Health, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: email@example.com.
7Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference/Journal: Physiol Behav.
Date published: 2019 Aug 19
Other: Volume ID: 112655 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112655. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 295
OBJECTIVE: Due to the impact of stress and related psychophysiological responses on competitive performance, psychological interventions that reduce stress and may thus increase athletic performance need to be evaluated. In this pilot study, the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on competitive anxiety, self-confidence and mindfulness, and autonomic and endocrine stress responses to a competition in elite athletes were determined.
METHODS: Twenty-six male elite Wushu athletes (N = 26) were randomly assigned to either MBI (8 weeks) or a wait-list control group. Both groups participated in three competitions at baseline, immediately post intervention, and at a 2-month follow-up. Athletes completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 prior to the competitions. Saliva, from which the stress markers cortisol (sCort) and alpha-amylase (sAA) were determined, was collected prior to and after competitions as well as after awakening and in the evening of competition days.
RESULTS: Repeated measures ANOVAs showed that the MBI group, but not the wait-list control group, demonstrated an increase in self-confidence and mindfulness and a decrease in competitive anxiety from baseline to post intervention (all p < .001, all ɳp2 > 0.39). The MBI group exhibited lower sCort daily levels (p = .001, ɳp2 = 0.332) and lower sCort (p = .013, ɳp2 = 0.121) and sAA responses (p = .022, ɳp2 = 0.119) to the competition after the intervention. Daily sAA was unaffected by the intervention (p = .742, ɳp2 = 0.011). These changes remained stable up to the 2-month follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: The present pilot study suggested that mindfulness-based intervention might be associated with a diminished physiological and psychological stress responses to competition. Whether this in turn translates to change in performance needs to be examined in future studies with larger samples. Moreover, different sport activities need to be considered before findings can be generalized.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
KEYWORDS: Competitive anxiety; Elite athlete; Mindfulness-based intervention; Salivary alpha-amylase; Salivary cortisol
PMID: 31437476 DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112655