Psychosocial influences on central and peripheral vision and reaction time during demanding tasks

Behav Med. 1997 Winter;22(4):160-7. doi: 10.1080/08964289.1997.10543549.


We examined perceptual deficits hypothesized in a model of stress and injury relationships. An ophthalmologic perimeter was used to measure peripheral and central vision during baseline and demanding task situations for 201 intercollegiate athletes from 10 sports. We conducted analyses of covariance with the stress measures as dependent variables and their appropriate baseline measures as covariates. Performance under demanding tasks deteriorated significantly on all the perceptual variables. Individuals with high negative life events scores experienced greater peripheral narrowing and slower central vision reaction time during stress than did those with life events scores that were low. Men with low social support had more failures to detect cues, and men with high negative life events, low social support, and low coping skills had the lowest perceptual sensitivity. Women with high negative life events and low coping skills had more failures to detect cues. We discuss the findings in terms of how stress responsivity may influence injury risk through changes in perception and attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology
  • Attention*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Orientation*
  • Problem Solving
  • Reaction Time*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology
  • Visual Fields*