Objectives: The finding that chewing gum can moderate state anxiety under conditions of acute stress has proved difficult to replicate. The present study examines the extent to which chewing gum can moderate state anxiety under conditions of acute social stress.
Method: In a between-participants design, 36 participants completed a task comprising a mock job interview (a variation on the Trier Social Stress Task, which included a mental arithmetic component) while either chewing gum or without chewing gum. Self-rated measures of mood and anxiety were taken at baseline, after a 10-minute presentation preparation stage, after the 10-minute presentation, and following a 5-minute recovery stage.
Results: Post-presentation measures reflected increased state anxiety and decreased self-rated calmness and contentedness. Chewing gum attenuated the rise in state anxiety while increasing self-rated alertness. Chewing gum did not affect contentedness or calmness.
Conclusions: The findings indicate that chewing gum can act to reduce anxiety under conditions of acute social stress: a finding consistent with Scholey et al. Furthermore, the data add to the growing body of literature demonstrating that chewing gum can increase alertness.