Laboratory stress tasks induce strong changes in linear and non-linear indices of heart rate variability (HRV) among healthy adults, due to a task-induced parasympathetic withdrawal. Previous findings suggested that negative affectivity and its correlates (i.e., depressive symptoms, anxiety, hostility, type D personality, and situational stress) could profoundly affect autonomic activity. However, to date no studies considered these psychological dimensions simultaneously while trying to disentangle their acute effects on HRV during a laboratory stress task. A total of 65 healthy participants completed a battery of questionnaires and later underwent a psychosocial stress protocol, which involves a stressful and a non-stressful mental arithmetic task, with the latter serving as a control condition for the former. During the entire procedure, autonomic activity was recorded through a portable ECG device. We analysed longitudinal changes in HRV indices using Mixed Models, taking into account respiration rates and the associations between psychophysiological variables through bivariate Pearson’s r (partial) correlation indices. We found significant changes in linear (e.g., HF power, RMSSD) and non-linear (e.g., Poincaré Plot and Correlation Dimension D2) HRV indices during the procedure, with the lowest point reached during the stressful mental arithmetic task. Interestingly, only depressive symptomatology was significantly and positively related to a higher resting-state HRV and to a blunted reactivity to the stress task, even after controlling for baseline values. Results suggest that healthy individuals with higher levels of depressive symptoms could experience atypical cardiovascular responses to stressful events: several speculative interpretations, considering autonomic, behavioral, and motivational dysregulations, are discussed.

(2019). Higher levels of Depressive Symptoms are Associated with Increased Resting-State Heart Rate Variability and Blunted Reactivity to a Laboratory Stress Task among Healthy Adults [journal article - articolo]. In APPLIED PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY AND BIOFEEDBACK. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/158118

Higher levels of Depressive Symptoms are Associated with Increased Resting-State Heart Rate Variability and Blunted Reactivity to a Laboratory Stress Task among Healthy Adults

Brugnera, A.;Zarbo, C.;Tasca, G. A.;Adorni, R.;Auteri, A.;Compare, A.
2019

Abstract

Laboratory stress tasks induce strong changes in linear and non-linear indices of heart rate variability (HRV) among healthy adults, due to a task-induced parasympathetic withdrawal. Previous findings suggested that negative affectivity and its correlates (i.e., depressive symptoms, anxiety, hostility, type D personality, and situational stress) could profoundly affect autonomic activity. However, to date no studies considered these psychological dimensions simultaneously while trying to disentangle their acute effects on HRV during a laboratory stress task. A total of 65 healthy participants completed a battery of questionnaires and later underwent a psychosocial stress protocol, which involves a stressful and a non-stressful mental arithmetic task, with the latter serving as a control condition for the former. During the entire procedure, autonomic activity was recorded through a portable ECG device. We analysed longitudinal changes in HRV indices using Mixed Models, taking into account respiration rates and the associations between psychophysiological variables through bivariate Pearson’s r (partial) correlation indices. We found significant changes in linear (e.g., HF power, RMSSD) and non-linear (e.g., Poincaré Plot and Correlation Dimension D2) HRV indices during the procedure, with the lowest point reached during the stressful mental arithmetic task. Interestingly, only depressive symptomatology was significantly and positively related to a higher resting-state HRV and to a blunted reactivity to the stress task, even after controlling for baseline values. Results suggest that healthy individuals with higher levels of depressive symptoms could experience atypical cardiovascular responses to stressful events: several speculative interpretations, considering autonomic, behavioral, and motivational dysregulations, are discussed.
articolo
Brugnera, A.; Zarbo, C.; Tarvainen, M. P.; Carlucci, S.; Tasca, G. A.; Adorni, R.; Auteri, A.; Compare, A.
(2019). Higher levels of Depressive Symptoms are Associated with Increased Resting-State Heart Rate Variability and Blunted Reactivity to a Laboratory Stress Task among Healthy Adults [journal article - articolo]. In APPLIED PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY AND BIOFEEDBACK. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/158118
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