Relationships between respiratory sinus arrhythmia and stress in college students
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between university students’ respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) profiles and both retrospective and momentary ratings of stress. Participants were undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory health science course (N = 64). Participants provided RSA data at rest (tonic) and following an orthostatic challenge (phasic), completed the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and completed 6 daily ecological momentary assessments (EMA) of stress for 1 week. Higher tonic RSA was associated with lower perceived stress assessed via PSS and average EMA responses. Those with higher tonic RSA did not differ in their experience of stress across the week, whereas those with lower tonic RSA experienced increased stress across the week, and these trajectories varied as a function of phasic responses. These findings suggest a need for greater emphasis on behavioral strategies for maintaining and enhancing autonomic nervous system health among college students.
KeywordsHealth Stress Assessment Autonomic nervous system
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
J. Fanning, J. L. Silfer, H. Liu, L. Gauvin, K. J. Heilman, S. W. Porges and W. J. Rejeski declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights and informed consent
All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
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