, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 92-98

Cognitive-behavioral intervention effects on mood and cortisol during exercise training

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The purpose of the present study was to assess the effect of a time limited cognitive-behavioral stress management program (CBSM) on mood state and serum cortisol among men and women rowers (N=34) undergoing a period of heavy exercise training. After controlling for life-event stress (LES), CBSM was hypothesized to reduce negative mood state and cortisol among rowers during a period of heavy training; mood and cortisol changes over the intervention period were hypothesized to be positively correlated. LES was positively associated with negative affect at study entry. After covariance for LES, rowing athletes randomly assigned to the CBSM group experienced significant reductions in depressed mood, fatigue, and cortisol when compared to those randomized to a control group. Decreases in negative affect and fatigue were also significantly associated with cortisol decrease. These results suggest that CBSM may exert a positive effect on athletes' adaptation to heavy exercise training.

Preparation of this manuscript was suported in part by NIMH research training grant MH18917.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of David Makemson and Aldo Tinoco in the data collection, the technical expertise of J.B. Fernandez who assisted in assay procedures, and to Joseph Signoreli, Adarsh Kumar, and Stanley Cohen for their helpful comments. We extend special thanks to Vanessa Ince, who served as a group co-leader, the counseling center staff of the University of Miami, and especially to the University of Miami Rowing Program.