Effects of life-event stress on anxiety and peripheral narrowing

Behav Med. Winter 1990;16(4):174-81. doi: 10.1080/08964289.1990.9934606.


This study examined one of the mechanisms proposed to be behind the relationship between life stress and injury. Past researchers have identified a correlation between high life stress and athletic injury for contact and noncontact sports and for male and female athletes, but they did not investigate why athletes who experienced stress from life events were more prone to injury than those whose lives were low in stressful events. The authors tested the hypothesis that recreational athletes with high life-event stress would, when placed in a stressful, dual-task laboratory situation, experience greater narrowing of peripheral vision and state anxiety than recreational athletes with low life-event stress. ANOVA and regression results offered support for peripheral vision deficits as a potential mechanism in the life stress-injury relationship and very minimal support the effect of elevated state anxiety. The great variability in peripheral vision changes for the groups with high life stress suggests that, for certain subjects, some unmeasured variable may be buffering the adverse impact of high life-event stress. The authors recommend that future researchers examine potential moderating variables, such as coping resources, and assess the relative contributions of psychosocial variables, stress history variables, and mediating mechanisms in predicting actual injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology*
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Problem Solving
  • Risk Factors
  • Visual Fields*