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Effects of acute psychological stress on athletic performance in elite male swimmers

Rano, Jacqueline; Fridén, Cecilia and Eek, Frida LU (2018) In Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Abstract

BACKGROUND: While physical activity has been shown to affect psychological as well as physiological stress responses, less research has explored the effects of acute stress on athletic performance. The current study hence aimed to investigate the effect of an Acute Psychological Stress (APS) provocation on performance and plasma lactate concentration during a following 200m swim race among male elite swimmers. Furthermore, associations between physiological stress responses (salivary cortisol and testosterone), and outcome measures (speed and lactate) were explored.

METHODS: Twenty-three elite male swimmers participated in an experimental counterbalanced within-group repeated measures design consisting of an APS provocation... (More)

BACKGROUND: While physical activity has been shown to affect psychological as well as physiological stress responses, less research has explored the effects of acute stress on athletic performance. The current study hence aimed to investigate the effect of an Acute Psychological Stress (APS) provocation on performance and plasma lactate concentration during a following 200m swim race among male elite swimmers. Furthermore, associations between physiological stress responses (salivary cortisol and testosterone), and outcome measures (speed and lactate) were explored.

METHODS: Twenty-three elite male swimmers participated in an experimental counterbalanced within-group repeated measures design consisting of an APS provocation followed by a 200m race and, on a separate day, a control race without prior stress exposure. Salivary cortisol and testosterone were collected prior to each race. Race time was recorded, and serum lactate were collected immediately following, and five min after completed race.

RESULTS: Race speed was significantly slower (1.53 (95% CI: 0.08-2.79) seconds) following the APS provocation than under control conditions. Pre-race cortisol levels were positively associated with lactate response when preceding stress exposure was present (rho =.483 immediately, and rho=.429 five minutes post race, p's<0.05). Under control conditions however, both increased testosterone (rho= -657, p=0.001) and cortisol (rho= -.491, p=0.020) levels were associated with faster race times.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicated a negative impact of APS exposure on athletic performance. Further, potential beneficial effects on performance from physiological stress responses (as reflected by salivary cortisol and testosterone) may be diminished during performance following an APS provocation, compared with a regular non-provoked performance situation.

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author
organization
publishing date
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Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
publisher
Edizioni Minerva Medica
ISSN
0022-4707
DOI
10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08493-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9d7d1f2a-c8dd-4a48-b286-8d236d95ceb9
date added to LUP
2018-12-20 12:21:04
date last changed
2018-12-27 15:22:22
@article{9d7d1f2a-c8dd-4a48-b286-8d236d95ceb9,
  abstract     = {<p>BACKGROUND: While physical activity has been shown to affect psychological as well as physiological stress responses, less research has explored the effects of acute stress on athletic performance. The current study hence aimed to investigate the effect of an Acute Psychological Stress (APS) provocation on performance and plasma lactate concentration during a following 200m swim race among male elite swimmers. Furthermore, associations between physiological stress responses (salivary cortisol and testosterone), and outcome measures (speed and lactate) were explored.</p><p>METHODS: Twenty-three elite male swimmers participated in an experimental counterbalanced within-group repeated measures design consisting of an APS provocation followed by a 200m race and, on a separate day, a control race without prior stress exposure. Salivary cortisol and testosterone were collected prior to each race. Race time was recorded, and serum lactate were collected immediately following, and five min after completed race.</p><p>RESULTS: Race speed was significantly slower (1.53 (95% CI: 0.08-2.79) seconds) following the APS provocation than under control conditions. Pre-race cortisol levels were positively associated with lactate response when preceding stress exposure was present (rho =.483 immediately, and rho=.429 five minutes post race, p's&lt;0.05). Under control conditions however, both increased testosterone (rho= -657, p=0.001) and cortisol (rho= -.491, p=0.020) levels were associated with faster race times.</p><p>CONCLUSIONS: The results indicated a negative impact of APS exposure on athletic performance. Further, potential beneficial effects on performance from physiological stress responses (as reflected by salivary cortisol and testosterone) may be diminished during performance following an APS provocation, compared with a regular non-provoked performance situation.</p>},
  author       = {Rano, Jacqueline and Fridén, Cecilia and Eek, Frida},
  issn         = {0022-4707},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  publisher    = {Edizioni Minerva Medica},
  series       = {Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness},
  title        = {Effects of acute psychological stress on athletic performance in elite male swimmers},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08493-1},
  year         = {2018},
}