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Stressed Out — Chew Some Gum

A new study discovers chewing gum helped relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals in a laboratory setting.

The research effort, titled “An investigation into the effects of gum chewing on mood and cortisol levels during psychological stress,” will be presented at the 2008 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine.

The study examined whether chewing gum is capable of reducing induced anxiety and/or acute psychological stress while participants performed a battery of ‘multi-tasking’ activities.

The use of chewing gum was associated with higher alertness, reduced anxiety and stress, and improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities.

Andrew Scholey, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia led the research study of 40 gum chewers.

The participants who averaged 22 years old, were tested with the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS), a multi-tasking platform which reliably induces stress and also includes performance measures, while chewing and not chewing gum.

Anxiety, alertness and stress levels were measured before and after participants completed the DISS.

    • Relieved Anxiety: When chewing gum, participants reported lower levels of anxiety.
    o Gum chewers showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17 percent during mild stress and nearly 10 percent in moderate stress.

    • Increased Alertness: Participants experienced greater levels of alertness when they chewed gum.
    o Gum chewers showed improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers by nearly 19 percent during mild stress and 8 percent in moderate stress.

    • Reduced Stress: Stress levels were lower in participants who chewed gum.
    o Levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16 percent during mild stress and nearly 12 percent in moderate stress.

    • Improved Performance: Chewing gum resulted in a significant improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities.
    o Both gum-chewers and non-chewers showed improvement from their baseline scores; however, chewing gum improved mean performance scores over non-gum chewers by 67 percent during moderate stress and 109 percent in mild stress.

Source: Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company

Stressed Out — Chew Some Gum

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Stressed Out — Chew Some Gum. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 18, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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