First Advisor

Dr. Jay Campisi

Reader

Dr. Kristofor Voss

College

Regis College

Degree Name

BAS

Department (optional)

Biology

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

55 pages

Abstract

The proportion of young adults on social media sites has grown in recent years. While some young adults find enjoyment in these sites, they cause stress and anxiety in others. Additionally, although many athletes experience stress prior to competition, it is unclear if social media use could modulate this stress. The aim of the present study is to determine if Facebook use influences the anticipatory stress response demonstrated in athletes before the start of a competition. In this study, undergraduate students competing in club sports spent time before each of two competitions either engaging in their normal pre-game routine or on their Facebook account, and submitted a saliva sample before and after that time period to assess for salivary cortisol concentration. Athletes demonstrated a significant increase in cortisol concentration before competition (p=0.001) and Facebook use modulated the stress-induced increase in cortisol in females, as there was a significant decrease in cortisol concentration in the female athlete that did not use Facebook (p=0.0325). This suggests that social media use prior to an athletic competition might have differential impacts on stress levels in some users. Because anticipatory stress is a widespread phenomenon and can be found outside of the context of athletics, this study provides evidence that staying away from Facebook during the anticipatory period could be a simple and effective way to reduce stress, especially in the female undergraduate athlete population.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Included in

Physiology Commons

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