Andrew Scholey, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia has led a research study on the effects of chewing gum on stress relief and focus and concentration. The study found that chewing gum helped relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals in a laboratory setting.
The study examined whether chewing gum is capable of reducing induced anxiety and/or acute psychological stress while participants performed a battery of 'multi-tasking' activities. The use of chewing gum was associated with higher alertness, reduced anxiety and stress, and improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities.
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. The study noted:
* Relieved Anxiety: 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.
* Increased Alertness: 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.
* Reduced 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.
* Improved Performance: 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.
"An investigation into the effects of gum chewing on mood and cortisol levels during psychological stress," will be presented at the 2008 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine by Scholey and Gilbert Leveille, Ph.D., executive director, Wrigley Science Institute at Rissho University in Tokyo on August 30th, 2008.