Amy K. Ryan

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Human Performance and Health Education


Health, Physical Education & Recreation

First Advisor

Dr. Mary L. Dawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Roger Zabik

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Frye

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The problem of this study was to analyze the effect of caffeine on heart rate, blood pressure, reaction time, and hand steadiness. Subjects (N = 20) were classified as high-caffeine users or low-caffeine users. Heart rate, blood pressure, reaction time, and hand steadiness were measured. Subjects then consumed 24 oz of coffee containing 345 mg of caffeine in a 5-min period. Dependent variables were measured again at 30, 60, and 90 min after caffeine administration. Significant differences were found among test time means for every dependent variable except hand steadiness. No difference was found between the high-caffeine-use group and the low-caffeine-use group for heart rate, blood pressure, or hand steadiness. The researcher concluded that caffeine (a) did not increase heart rate, (b) increased systolic blood pressure 60 min after caffeine intake, (c) increased diastolic blood pressure at 30 and 60 min after caffeine intake, (d) decreased reaction time for the high-caffeine-use group, and (e) had no effect on hand steadiness. Recommendations for further study include designing the study to measure baseline heart rate and blood pressure prior to caffeine administration and using a balanced placebo design to see if regular caffeine users respond due to caffeine or to expectancy.