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Chewing gum, stress and health

Smith, Andrew Paul ORCID: 2009. Chewing gum, stress and health. Stress and Health 25 (5) , pp. 445-451. 10.1002/smi.1272

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Hollingworth described chewing gum as ‘a technique of relaxation’. Recent research has examined this issue and there is evidence that chewing gum can prevent the adverse effects of acute stress. There are also plausible biological mechanisms that could explain such effects. It is now important to examine chewing gum and chronic stress and the present study involved a survey of this topic. The survey covered the ‘stress process’, collecting data on exposure to stressful events, levels of perceived stress and health outcomes. Frequency of chewing gum was also recorded. Potential confounding factors (demographics, personality and health-related behaviours) were also recorded. The web-based survey was completed by a community sample of 2,248 full-time workers (68% female. Mean age: 35 years, range 18–74 years). Sixty-one per cent of the sample were gum chewers. The results showed that chewing gum was associated with lower levels of perceived stress (both at work and life in general). Gum chewers were also less likely to be depressed and to have seen their doctor for high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Chewing gum was associated with lower levels of alcohol consumption and with cigarette smoking. Gum chewers were also more likely to be neurotic extraverts. Those who chewed gum were also more likely to be exposed to negative factors at work. Logistic regression analyses showed that the effects of chewing gum on stress and health remained significant when these confounding factors were controlled for. These results suggest that chewing gum may be a simple way of preventing stress and the negative health outcomes that are often associated with it. Intervention studies are now required and the mechanisms underlying the effects reported here need further investigation

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
T Technology > TX Home economics
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chewing gum ; Stress ; Health
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1532-3005
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 08:35

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