Measuring psychosocial stress with heart rate variability-based methods in different health and age groups

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Seipäjärvi , S M , Tuomola , A , Juurakko , J , Rottensteiner , M , Rissanen , A-P E , Kurkela , J L O , Kujala , U M , Laukkanen , J A & Wikgren , J 2022 , ' Measuring psychosocial stress with heart rate variability-based methods in different health and age groups ' , Physiological Measurement , vol. 43 , no. 5 , 055002 .

Title: Measuring psychosocial stress with heart rate variability-based methods in different health and age groups
Author: Seipäjärvi, Santtu M.; Tuomola, Anniina; Juurakko, Joona; Rottensteiner, Mirva; Rissanen, Antti-Pekka E.; Kurkela, Jari L. O.; Kujala, Urho M.; Laukkanen, Jari A.; Wikgren, Jan
Contributor organization: Department of Diagnostics and Therapeutics
University of Helsinki
Date: 2022-05-31
Language: eng
Number of pages: 19
Belongs to series: Physiological Measurement
ISSN: 0967-3334
Abstract: Objective. Autonomic nervous system function and thereby bodily stress and recovery reactions may be assessed by wearable devices measuring heart rate (HR) and its variability (HRV). So far, the validity of HRV-based stress assessments has been mainly studied in healthy populations. In this study, we determined how psychosocial stress affects physiological and psychological stress responses in both young (18-30 years) and middle-aged (45-64 years) healthy individuals as well as in patients with arterial hypertension and/or either prior evidence of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. We also studied how an HRV-based stress index (Relax-Stress Intensity, RSI) relates to perceived stress (PS) and cortisol (CRT) responses during psychosocial stress. Approach. A total of 197 participants were divided into three groups: (1) healthy young (HY, N = 63), (2) healthy middle-aged (HM, N = 61) and (3) patients with cardiometabolic risk factors (Pts, N = 73, 32-65 years). The participants underwent a group version of Trier Social Stress Test (TSST-G). HR, HRV (quantified as root mean square of successive differences of R-R intervals, RMSSD), RSI, PS, and salivary CRT were measured regularly during TSST-G and a subsequent recovery period. Main results. All groups showed significant stress reactions during TSST-G as indicated by significant responses of HR, RMSSD, RSI, PS, and salivary CRT. Between-group differences were also observed in all measures. Correlation and regression analyses implied RSI being the strongest predictor of CRT response, while HR was more closely associated with PS. Significance. The HRV-based stress index mirrors responses of CRT, which is an independent marker for physiological stress, around TSST-G. Thus, the HRV-based stress index may be used to quantify physiological responses to psychosocial stress across various health and age groups.
Subject: cortisol
heart rate variability
perceived stress
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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