Terry, P. C., & Mayer, J. L. (1998). Effectiveness of a mental training program for novice scuba divers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 10, 251-267.

This study assessed the effects of a mental training program on state anxiety, respiration rate, and performance of novice scuba divers (N = 44). An intervention group (N = 15) received an audiotaped mental training program designed to reduce anxiety and improve diving performance. A placebo group received the same conditions but the taped content covered scuba diving. A control group received only scuba training.

The intervention group reported lower pre-dive cognitive anxiety scores, higher pre-dive self-confidence scores, performed better on bail-out and mask removal tasks, and recorded lower respiration rates. Respiration rate was related to bail-out and mask removal performance.

Implication. Mental training is a valuable addition to pre-dive instruction in novice performers.

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