Category: Health Services Research; Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development); Geriatric Rehabilitation
The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effect of induced stress on task performance during high cognitive load situations (HCLS). We hypothesized that induced stress leads to performance decrements during HCLS.
In this cohort study, the HCLS included standing while completing a secondary motor task (wire maze). The wire maze was composed of a metal wire path (maze) and a single ring moved over the path without contacting the maze itself. A loud buzzer induced stress during ring-to-maze contacts. Participants were askedto randomly stand for three-minutes 1) quietly; or while completing the wire maze 2) with or 3) without the buzzer.
This study was done in a general community setting.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) :
A convenience sample of 18 participants (24.76±3.56 years) were randomly recruited. Participants were without any disease or injury that would cause abnormal standing or breathing.
Main Outcome Measure(s) :
Perceived stress was obtained after each trial. Regularity of ground-reaction-force (GRF) in anteroposterior and mediolateral directions, as well as maze error (ring-to-path contact), were calculated as primary and secondary task performance.
GRF was more irregular during quietly standing compared to HCLS with and without the buzzer with medium to large effect sizes (p=0.02, effect size d=0.67; p=0.001, d=0.68, respectively in anteroposterior and p=0.004, d=0.95; p
Identifying the strategies underlying task prioritization can help clinicians design suitable interventions to challenge patients appropriately to improve performance during HCLS.