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Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 34684

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Canberra, Bruce ACT 2614, Australia
Interests: physiology; cognition; exercise performance; fatigue; ageing

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Guest Editor
Human Physiology and Sports Physiotherapy Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Interests: mental and physical fatigue; sports; environmental stressors; placebo effect
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Canberra, Bruce ACT 2614, Australia
Interests: mental fatigue; exercise performance; cognition; physiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fatigue is a common workplace issue. Fatigue can reduce productivity and performance levels and increase the risk of mistakes. In many workplace settings, including emergency services, the military, and some industrial, clinical, and sporting settings, mental fatigue-related decrements in performance may contribute to accidents and errors. The recent renaissance of research into mental fatigue has refocused our attention on the importance of psychophysiological factors in performance. Our understanding around mental fatigue and performance however remains limited. In part, this is due to our limited understanding of the mechanisms underpinning mental fatigue, but equally there remains only a superficial understanding of practical issues. Workplaces, sporting, and clinical settings would benefit from a better understanding of the factors that contribute to mental fatigue, the impact it can have on workplace safety and productivity, and strategies to monitor or mitigate against mental fatigue-related performance decrements.

Papers addressing these topics are invited for this Special Issue, especially those combining high academic standard coupled with a practical focus.

Dr. Ben Rattray
Prof. Dr. Bart Roelands
Dr. Kristy Martin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mental exertion
  • Cognitive/mental demand
  • Task engagement
  • Time on task
  • Ego-depletion
  • Self-control
  • Motivation
  • Brain activity
  • Employment
  • Physical performance

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 5299 KiB  
Article
Mental Fatigue-Associated Decrease in Table Tennis Performance: Is There an Electrophysiological Signature?
by Jelle Habay, Matthias Proost, Jonas De Wachter, Jesús Díaz-García, Kevin De Pauw, Romain Meeusen, Jeroen Van Cutsem and Bart Roelands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 12906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412906 - 7 Dec 2021
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4036 | Correction
Abstract
Mental fatigue (MF) is a psychobiological state negatively impacting both cognitive and physical performance. Although recent research implies that some table tennis (TT) performance outcomes are impaired by MF, open skill sports such as TT require a more detailed overview of MF-related performance [...] Read more.
Mental fatigue (MF) is a psychobiological state negatively impacting both cognitive and physical performance. Although recent research implies that some table tennis (TT) performance outcomes are impaired by MF, open skill sports such as TT require a more detailed overview of MF-related performance decrements. Moreover, research into MF and sport-specific psychomotor performance lacks the inclusion of brain-related measurements to identify MF mechanisms. Eleven experienced TT players participated in this randomized counterbalanced crossover trial. Participants were either required to perform an individualized Stroop task (MF condition) or watch a documentary (control condition). The primary outcomes were reaction time on a sport-specific visuomotor task and EEG activity throughout the trial. The subjective feeling of MF was significantly different between both conditions and confirmed that the MF condition induced the mentally fatigue state of participants (p < 0.001), though no behavioral indicators (i.e., decrease in performance on Stroop and flanker task) of MF. MF worsened reaction time on the visuomotor task, while other secondary measurements remained largely ambiguous. Spectral power (i.e., decreases in upper α band and θ band) was influenced by MF, while ERPs measured during the visuomotor task remained unaltered. The present study confirms that MF negatively impacts table tennis performance, specifically inhibitory stimuli during the visuomotor task. These findings also further augment our understanding of the effects of MF on human performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
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12 pages, 377 KiB  
Article
Proof-of-Concept and Test-Retest Reliability Study of Psychological and Physiological Variables of the Mental Fatigue Paradigm
by Cayque Brietzke, Ítalo Vinícius, Paulo Estevão Franco-Alvarenga, Raul Canestri, Márcio Fagundes Goethel, Lucas Eduardo Rodrigues Santos, Bruno Viana, Tony Meireles Santos and Flávio Oliveira Pires
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189532 - 10 Sep 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2277
Abstract
This study provided a proof-of-concept and test–retest reliability of measures frequently used to assess a mental fatigue paradigm. After familiarization, 28 healthy men performed (40-min) the Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVP) test in a test–retest design, having mental fatigue sensation, motivation, emotional arousal, [...] Read more.
This study provided a proof-of-concept and test–retest reliability of measures frequently used to assess a mental fatigue paradigm. After familiarization, 28 healthy men performed (40-min) the Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVP) test in a test–retest design, having mental fatigue sensation, motivation, emotional arousal, total mood disturbance, and electroencephalography (EEG) in the prefrontal cortex measured before and after the test. EEG was recorded during a 3-min rest so that the power spectral density of theta (3–7 Hz) and alpha (8–13 Hz) bands was calculated. Pre-to-post RVP test changes in psychological and physiological domains were compared (paired-T tests), and absolute (standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimal difference (MD)) and relative reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC)) were calculated. The RVP test induced an increase (p < 0.05) in mental fatigue sensation (120.9% (109.4; 132.4)) and total mood disturbance (3.5% (−6.3; 13.3)), and a decrease in motivation (−7.1% (−9.2; −5.1)) and emotional arousal (−16.2% (−19.1; −13.2)). Likewise, EEG theta (59.1% (33.2; 85.0); p < 0.05), but not alpha band, increased due to RVP test. All psychophysiological responses showed poor-to-moderate relative reliability. Changes in mental fatigue sensation and motivation were higher than SEM and MD, but changes in EEG theta band were higher only than SEM. Mental fatigue sensation, motivation, and EEG theta band were sensitive to distinguish a mental fatigue paradigm despite true mental fatigue effects on theta activity may be trivial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
14 pages, 1648 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Effects of Mental Fatigue on Resistance Exercise Performance
by Denver M. Y. Brown, Amanda Farias Zuniga, Daanish M. Mulla, Divya Mendonca, Peter J. Keir and Steven R. Bray
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6794; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136794 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3278
Abstract
Mental fatigue can impart negative effects on subsequent physical performance, although the mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood. This study examined whether mental fatigue confers negative carryover effects on the performance of a set of biceps curls, while also investigating physiological [...] Read more.
Mental fatigue can impart negative effects on subsequent physical performance, although the mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood. This study examined whether mental fatigue confers negative carryover effects on the performance of a set of biceps curls, while also investigating physiological and psychological mechanisms proposed to explain the predicted effect. A randomized, cross-over design was employed. On visit 1, participants (N = 10) performed a barbell biceps curl one-repetition maximum (1RM) test. On visits 2–3, participants performed 20 biceps curls at 50% of their 1RM, followed by their respective 10 min experimental manipulation (high vs. low cognitive exertion) and then a second set of biceps curls to exhaustion. Ratings of perceived exertion and electromyography of the biceps brachii, triceps brachii, upper trapezius, thoracic erector spinae and lumbar erector spinae were recorded during the physical task. The total number of repetitions completed was similar across the conditions. Results also failed to show between-condition differences for muscle activation and perceptions of exertion. Future research is needed to build an adequate knowledge base to determine whether there is an effect of mental fatigue on dynamic resistance-based task performance and, if so, identify the mechanisms explaining how and why. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
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12 pages, 706 KiB  
Article
Burnout in Professional Psychotherapists: Relationships with Self-Compassion, Work–Life Balance, and Telepressure
by Yasuhiro Kotera, Robert Maxwell-Jones, Ann-Marie Edwards and Natalie Knutton
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105308 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 8415
Abstract
Though negative impacts of COVID-19 on occupational mental health have been reported, the mental health of psychotherapists has not been evaluated in depth. As this occupational group treats ever-increasing mental health problems, it is essential to appraise key factors for their mental health. [...] Read more.
Though negative impacts of COVID-19 on occupational mental health have been reported, the mental health of psychotherapists has not been evaluated in depth. As this occupational group treats ever-increasing mental health problems, it is essential to appraise key factors for their mental health. Accordingly, this study aimed to explore burnout of professional psychotherapists. A total of 110 participants completed self-report measures regarding burnout, self-compassion, work–life balance and telepressure. Correlation, regression and moderation analyses were conducted. Both of the burnout components—emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation—were positively associated with weekly working hours and telepressure, and negatively associated with age, self-compassion and work–life balance. Weekly working hours and work–life balance were significant predictors of emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation. Lastly, self-compassion partially mediated the relationship between work–life balance and emotional exhaustion but did not mediate the relationship between work–life balance and depersonalisation. The findings suggest that maintaining high work–life balance is particularly important for the mental health of psychotherapists, protecting them from burnout. Moreover, self-compassion needs to be cultivated to mitigate emotional exhaustion. Mental health care for this occupational group needs to be implemented to achieve sustainable mental health care for workers and the public. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
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17 pages, 991 KiB  
Article
Sex Differences in Time-Domain and Frequency-Domain Heart Rate Variability Measures of Fatigued Drivers
by Chao Zeng, Wenjun Wang, Chaoyang Chen, Chaofei Zhang and Bo Cheng
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8499; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228499 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2250
Abstract
The effects of fatigue on a driver’s autonomic nervous system (ANS) were investigated through heart rate variability (HRV) measures considering the difference of sex. Electrocardiogram (ECG) data from 18 drivers were recorded during a simulator-based driving experiment. Thirteen short-term HRV measures were extracted [...] Read more.
The effects of fatigue on a driver’s autonomic nervous system (ANS) were investigated through heart rate variability (HRV) measures considering the difference of sex. Electrocardiogram (ECG) data from 18 drivers were recorded during a simulator-based driving experiment. Thirteen short-term HRV measures were extracted through time-domain and frequency-domain methods. First, differences in HRV measures related to mental state (alert or fatigued) were analyzed in all subjects. Then, sex-specific changes between alert and fatigued states were investigated. Finally, sex differences between alert and fatigued states were compared. For all subjects, ten measures showed significant differences (Mann-Whitney U test, p < 0.01) between different mental states. In male and female drivers, eight and four measures, respectively, showed significant differences between different mental states. Six measures showed significant differences between males and females in an alert state, while ten measures showed significant sex differences in a fatigued state. In conclusion, fatigue impacts drivers’ ANS activity, and this impact differs by sex; more differences exist between male and female drivers’ ANS activity in a fatigued state than in an alert state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
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Review

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15 pages, 373 KiB  
Review
Mental Fatigue after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Relation to Cognitive Tests and Brain Imaging Methods
by Birgitta Johansson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5955; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115955 - 2 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4492
Abstract
Most people recover within months after a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion, but some will suffer from long-term fatigue with a reduced quality of life and the inability to maintain their employment status or education. For many people, mental fatigue is [...] Read more.
Most people recover within months after a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion, but some will suffer from long-term fatigue with a reduced quality of life and the inability to maintain their employment status or education. For many people, mental fatigue is one of the most distressing and long-lasting symptoms following an mTBI. No efficient treatment options can be offered. The best method for measuring fatigue today is with fatigue self-assessment scales, there being no objective clinical tests available for mental fatigue. The aim here is to provide a narrative review and identify fatigue in relation to cognitive tests and brain imaging methods. Suggestions for future research are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)

Other

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21 pages, 1417 KiB  
Systematic Review
Effects of Nutritional Interventions on Accuracy and Reaction Time with Relevance to Mental Fatigue in Sporting, Military, and Aerospace Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Liam S. Oliver, John P. Sullivan, Suzanna Russell, Jonathan M. Peake, Mitchell Nicholson, Craig McNulty and Vincent G. Kelly
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010307 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4623
Abstract
Background: Research in sport, military, and aerospace populations has shown that mental fatigue may impair cognitive performance. The effect of nutritional interventions that may mitigate such negative effects has been investigated. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to quantify the effects of [...] Read more.
Background: Research in sport, military, and aerospace populations has shown that mental fatigue may impair cognitive performance. The effect of nutritional interventions that may mitigate such negative effects has been investigated. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to quantify the effects of nutritional interventions on cognitive domains often measured in mental fatigue research. Methods: A systematic search for articles was conducted using key terms relevant to mental fatigue in sport, military, and aerospace populations. Two reviewers screened 11,495 abstracts and 125 full texts. A meta-analysis was conducted whereby effect sizes were calculated using subgroups for nutritional intervention and cognitive domains. Results: Fourteen studies were included in the meta-analysis. The consumption of energy drinks was found to have a small positive effect on reaction time, whilst the use of beta-alanine, carbohydrate, and caffeine had no effect. Carbohydrate and caffeine use had no effect on accuracy. Conclusions: The results of this meta-analysis suggest that consuming energy drinks may improve reaction time. The lack of effect observed for other nutritional interventions is likely due to differences in the type, timing, dosage, and form of administration. More rigorous randomized controlled trials related to the effect of nutrition interventions before, during, and after induced mental fatigue are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
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10 pages, 340 KiB  
Brief Report
Mental Fatigue, But Not other Fatigue Characteristics, as a Candidate Feature of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder in Patients with Anxiety and Mood Disorders—An Exploratory Study
by Julija Gecaite-Stonciene, Naomi A. Fineberg, Aurelija Podlipskyte, Julius Neverauskas, Alicja Juskiene, Narseta Mickuviene and Julius Burkauskas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218132 - 3 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3478
Abstract
Background: Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is commonly associated with anxiety and mood disorders (AMDs), in which fatigue and executive dysfunction represent key symptoms. Executive dysfunction has also been demonstrated in subjects with OCPD, and is additionally found to be a cardinal feature [...] Read more.
Background: Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is commonly associated with anxiety and mood disorders (AMDs), in which fatigue and executive dysfunction represent key symptoms. Executive dysfunction has also been demonstrated in subjects with OCPD, and is additionally found to be a cardinal feature of fatigue. This study aimed to investigate the associations between fatigue, executive dysfunction, and OCPD in patients with AMDs. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 85 AMD patients (78% females, mean age 39 ± 11 years) were evaluated for OCPD traits by using the observer-rated Compulsive Personality Assessment Scale. The Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory-20 was used to measure different aspects of fatigue, and the Trail Making Test was employed to assess executive functioning. The Hamilton rating scales were used to evaluate anxiety and depression symptoms. Results: Controlling for potential confounders, there was a significant link between OCPD and mental fatigue (OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.58; p = 0.033). No associations were found between the presence of OCPD and other relevant fatigue characteristics, including general fatigue, physical fatigue, reduced activity, and reduced motivation, as well as executive functions. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to report associations between OCPD and mental fatigue in patients with AMDs, suggesting mental fatigue as a clinically important symptom when considering particular personality pathologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Fatigue in Occupational, Sporting and Clinical Settings)
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