Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2017) 42:117–125 DOI 10.1007/s10484-017-9360-6

Biofeedback Training in Crisis Managers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

A. Janka1 · C. Adler2 · B. Brunner3 · S. Oppenrieder1 · S. Duschek1

Abstract 

Working in crisis environments represents a major challenge, especially for executive personnel engaged in directing disaster operations, i.e. crisis managers. 

Crisis management involves operating under conditions of extreme stress resulting, for instance, from high-level decision-making, principal responsibility for personnel, multitasking, or working under conditions of risk and time pressure. The present study aimed to investigate the e – cacy of a newly developed biofeedback training procedure based on electrodermal activity, especially designed for the target group of crisis managers. 

stress-biofeedback
stress free manager

The training comprised exercises promoting acquisition of control over sympathetic arousal under resting conditions and during exposure to vis- ual, acoustic and cognitive stressors resembling situations related to crisis management. 

In a randomized controlled design, 36 crisis managers were assigned to either a bio- feedback training group or waiting list control group. Sub- jective stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale. In the training group, stress level markedly decreased; the decrease remained stable at follow-up 2 months after the training. 

The results indicate that biofeedback training in crisis management is an e ective method for stress man- agement that may help to reduce vulnerability to stress- related performance decline and stress-related disease.