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Coffee & Health
Mental performance

Interactive effects of caffeine consumption and stressful circumstances on components of stress: caffeine makes men less, but women more effective as partners under stress

L St Clair et al, 2010
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 40
December 18, 2010

We tested whether increased caffeine consumption exacerbates stress and disrupts team performance, and we explored whether “tend and befriend” characterizes women’s coping. We gave decaffeinated coffees, half of which contained added caffeine, to coffee drinkers in same-sex, same-aged dyads. We measured individual cognitive appraisals, emotional feelings, bodily symptoms, coping, and performance evaluations, together with dyad memory, psychomotor performance, and negotiation skills under higher or lower stressful conditions. Evidence consistent with the first hypothesis was weak, but we found that women performed better than did men on collaborative tasks under stress, provided caffeine had been consumed. The usefulness of multi component, cognitive-relational approaches to studying the effects of caffeine on stress is discussed, together with special implications of the effects for men.

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