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Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes.

15 Aug

Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes: a randomized clinical trial.

In previous research, cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) has been found to reduce fatigue, depression, and cortisol response to heavy exercise training among competitive collegiate athletes, and to speed physical and psychological recovery from surgery. This study assessed the efficacy of a CBSM program to reduce the frequency of injury and illness among competitive, collegiate rowers in a randomized, single-blind, controlled clinical trial. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the Division of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology, University of Miami, and the Department of Exercise Physiology, West Virginia University collaborated on this study. Following the assessment of baseline medical history, mood state, stress, cortisol, sleep, alcohol use, and exercise training, collegiate rowers were stratified by gender and competitive level, and randomly assigned to either a control group or a CBSM group. Exercise training information and psychosocial assessments were repeated immediately following the intervention period. Health care providers who were blinded to whether the participant was in the intervention group or the control group recorded the frequency of medical visits and the number of days the athlete was either injured or ill throughout the season. The study found that athletes randomly assigned to a CBSM group experienced significant reductions in the number of illness and injury days, as compared to control group athletes. CBSM participants also had half the number of health service visits as did controls. The data suggest that a time-limited CBSM intervention designed specifically for an athlete population may be an effective prophylactic treatment to reduce the incidence of injury and illness among competitive collegiate athletes.

Citation: Perna FM, Antoni MH, Baum A, Gordon P, Schneiderman N. Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes: a randomized clinical trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2003 Winter; 25 (1): pp. 66-73.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award