Cognitive and Biofeedback Training for Stress Reduction with University Athletes

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Daniel J. De Witt Purdue University

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Cognitive training is a broad term referring to a wide variety of psychological techniques that help individuals alter their own thoughts and perceptions. Biofeedback training allows individuals to become aware of typical patterns of physiological responding to environmental events. Two studies investigated whether a training program which combined these techniques would help athletes reduce competitive stress reactions and improve competitive performance. Studies of football players and basketball players found statistically significant differences (p < .05) between pre- and posttreatment comparisons of performance ratings. In the second study, a treatment group improved performance whereas a contact control group did not. Subjects in the treatment condition reported feeling more comfortable and confident in discussions subsequent to the training.

Reprint requests should be sent to Daniel J. De Witt, Purdue University, Pschological Services Center-Education Building, West Lafayette, IN 47906.

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