CAN DARK CHOCOLATE ALLEVIATE ANXIETY, DEPRESSIVE AND STRESS SYMPTOMS AMONG TRAINEE NURSES? A PARALLEL, OPEN-LABEL STUDY
Pei Lin Lua*, Sok Yee Wong*
Objective: This interventional study was aimed to investigate the effects of dark chocolate consumption on anxiety, depression, and stress (ADS) among trainee nurses. Methods: A parallel and open-label experimental study was conducted. Of the 128 nurses enrolled, only 47 participated in the intervention study (mean age = 20.32 years; ranging from 19 to 22 years old). They were randomly assigned to an intervention group (IG, n = 25) or a control group (CG, n = 22). The IG consumed dark chocolate and CG ingested mineral water for 3 consecutive days. The validated Malay Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) were utilised for measuring ADS levels. Data were analysed descriptively and score comparisons were conducted using non-parametric tests. Results: No significant differences between IG and CG in ADS scores were detected at baseline (all p > 0.05). At post-consumption, ADS score were significantly reduced in IG (all p < 0.01) compared with CG (all p < 0.05). Larger effect sizes among these respondents had also revealed that there were mood-elevating effects of dark chocolate consumption. Conclusion: This study has discovered that 3-day consumption of dark chocolate may alleviate ADS status among trainee nurses suggesting that dark chocolate may have a more prominent role in improving emotional and mood generally. Further investigations are however warranted to confirm this finding.