Acute psychosocial stress is typically investigated in laboratory settings using protocols with distinctive characteristics. For example, some tasks involve the action of speaking, which seems to alter Heart Rate Variability (HRV) through acute changes in respiration patterns. However, it is still unknown which task induces the strongest subjective and autonomic stress response. The present cross-over randomized trial sought to investigate the differences in perceived stress and in linear and non-linear analyses of HRV between three different verbal (Speech and Stroop) and non-verbal (Montreal Imaging Stress Task; MIST) stress tasks, in a sample of 60 healthy adults (51.7% females; mean age = 25.6 ± 3.83 years). Analyses were run controlling for respiration rates. Participants reported similar levels of perceived stress across the three tasks. However, MIST induced a stronger cardiovascular response than Speech and Stroop tasks, even after controlling for respiration rates. Finally, women reported higher levels of perceived stress and lower HRV both at rest and in response to acute psychosocial stressors, compared to men. Taken together, our results suggest the presence of gender-related differences during psychophysiological experiments on stress. They also suggest that verbal activity masked the vagal withdrawal through altered respiration patterns imposed by speaking. Therefore, our findings support the use of highly-standardized math task, such as MIST, as a valid and reliable alternative to verbal protocols during laboratory studies on stress.

(2018). Heart rate variability during acute psychosocial stress: A randomized cross-over trial of verbal and non-verbal laboratory stressors [journal article - articolo]. In INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/128633

Heart rate variability during acute psychosocial stress: A randomized cross-over trial of verbal and non-verbal laboratory stressors

Brugnera, Agostino;Zarbo, Cristina;Adorni, Roberta;Compare, Angelo
2018

Abstract

Acute psychosocial stress is typically investigated in laboratory settings using protocols with distinctive characteristics. For example, some tasks involve the action of speaking, which seems to alter Heart Rate Variability (HRV) through acute changes in respiration patterns. However, it is still unknown which task induces the strongest subjective and autonomic stress response. The present cross-over randomized trial sought to investigate the differences in perceived stress and in linear and non-linear analyses of HRV between three different verbal (Speech and Stroop) and non-verbal (Montreal Imaging Stress Task; MIST) stress tasks, in a sample of 60 healthy adults (51.7% females; mean age = 25.6 ± 3.83 years). Analyses were run controlling for respiration rates. Participants reported similar levels of perceived stress across the three tasks. However, MIST induced a stronger cardiovascular response than Speech and Stroop tasks, even after controlling for respiration rates. Finally, women reported higher levels of perceived stress and lower HRV both at rest and in response to acute psychosocial stressors, compared to men. Taken together, our results suggest the presence of gender-related differences during psychophysiological experiments on stress. They also suggest that verbal activity masked the vagal withdrawal through altered respiration patterns imposed by speaking. Therefore, our findings support the use of highly-standardized math task, such as MIST, as a valid and reliable alternative to verbal protocols during laboratory studies on stress.
articolo
Brugnera, Agostino; Zarbo, Cristina; Tarvainen, Mika P.; Marchettini, Paolo; Adorni, Roberta; Compare, Angelo
(2018). Heart rate variability during acute psychosocial stress: A randomized cross-over trial of verbal and non-verbal laboratory stressors [journal article - articolo]. In INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/128633
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