Author: Chow, Pik Kei
Title: Is heart rate variability associated with emotional response to external stimulation?
Advisors: Tam, Eric (BME)
Chung, Joanne (SN)
Wong, Thomas (SN)
Degree: DHSc
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Heart beat
Heart -- Pathophysiology
Department: Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Pages: xviii, 146 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The study used a prospective, exploratory correlational study. A two-group pretest-posttest design to investigate the relationship between emotion and heart rate variability (HRV). A total of 77 subjects (17 males and 60 females), aged between 18 and 29 years old, were recruited and randomly assigned to positive and negative video groups. The Chinese version of the Positive and Negative Affects Schedule (PANAS) and Chinese State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (C-STAI) were adopted to obtain the emotional affects and anxiety levels. The Electrocardiographic (ECG) data were obtained to extract HRV parameters. Based on power spectrum analysis, parameters for low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), LF/HF ratio, and total power (TP) were extracted. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 25. Descriptive statistics including demographic characteristics, results of the Chinese version of PANAS and C-STAI, emotional intensity scores, and the HRV parameters were reported. A paired t-test was used to measure the difference in state anxiety before and after watching the emotion-eliciting video. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to assess within-subject changes in the HRV parameters. Correlation analysis was used to reveal the relationships between the subjects' baseline HRV parameters and their HRV parameters while watching the emotion-eliciting video and to determine the intensity of these relationships. The significance level (alpha) was set at p < 0.05.
The subjects in the positive video group exhibited a significant decrease in state anxiety after watching the emotion-eliciting video (p < 0.01), together with a significant decrease in the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) while watching the video (p < 0.05). In the negative video group, the subjects exhibited a significant increase in state anxiety after video watching (p < 0.001) and a significant decrease in SDNN during video watching (p < 0.05). The results of ANOVA showed that there were significant differences in TF (p < 0.05), HF (p < 0.05), normalized High Frequency (HF n.u.) (p < 0.001) and normalized Low Frequency (LF n.u.) (p < 0.001) between before, during and after video watching in the negative video group. No significant differences were found in HRV parameters between before, during and after video watching in the positive video group. For the subjects in the positive video group, the arousal score was positively correlated with HF (r = 0.337, p < 0.05) during video watching and negatively correlated with HF (r = -0.318, p < 0.05) after video watching. In the negative video group, the arousal score was negatively correlated with TP (r = -0.384, p < 0.05), LF (r = -0.514, p < 0.01), LF n.u. (r = -0.426, p < 0.01), LF/HF ratio (r = -0.496, p < 0.01) and positively correlated with HF n.u. (r = 0.441, p < 0.01) after video watching. The results demonstrated that HRV is associated with emotional responses to external stimulation. The result can be used to aid in developing an objective method of detecting emotional response and increasing emotion awareness, hence promoting emotion regulation.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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