Effects of Hypnosis on State Anxiety and Stress in Male and Female Intercollegiate Athletes

  • E. W. Krenz
  • R. Gordin
  • S. W. Edwards


Male (N=20) and female (N=23) athletes at the University of Utah were selected to determine the effects of hypnosis on state anxiety and stress during the performance of a pursuit rotor task. Experimental (N=22) and control (N=21) group subjects were administered the state-anxiety portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) following a pre-test which consisted of 15 trials of 30 seconds each on the pursuit rotor task while under stress. The stressor consisted of a previously prepared statement implying a false relationship between the subject’s ability to perform and overall athletic ability, as well as suggesting competition between subjects. Heart rate was recorded for each minute for the 25 minutes pre-test period.

The treatment consisted of 18 hypnosis sessions of 30 minutes each administered during the six weeks following the pre-test period. The hypnosis treatment was designed to allow each athlete to attain his/her optimum level of performance while under stress. Control group subjects read unrelated literature in 18 sessions during the six weeks of treatment. Post-test measurements, identical to the pre-test were taken following the six weeks of treatment.

Using a two-way repeated measures analysis of variance with two grouping factors (experimental/control group and male/female group) and one trial factor (pre-and post-test), significant (p <. 10) pursuit rotor differences were indicated between the male (X̄ = 20.07) and female (X̄ = 17.80) groups. A significant decrease in heart rate (P <.05) during the pursuit rotor task was noted between the pre- (X̄ = 85.51) and the post- (X̄ = 81.47) test periods. A significant (P <.10) group x sex interaction indicated that both the experimental and the control groups significantly decreased their state-anxiety from the pre- to post-test periods. However, state-anxiety for the experimental group (X̄ = 38.04) was significantly lower than the control group (X̄ = 59.10) at the post-test. It was concluded that the hypnosis treatment was effective in lowering anxiety while performing a fine motor task under stress.


State Anxiety Fine Motor Female Athlete Fine Motor Skill Control Group Subject 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. W. Krenz
    • 1
  • R. Gordin
    • 1
  • S. W. Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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