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Clin Psychol Rev. 2016 Jun;46:136-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.04.013. Epub 2016 Apr 27.

Depression and resting state heart rate variability in children and adolescents - A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: Julian.Koenig@med.uni-heidelberg.de.
2
School of Psychology & Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Department of Psychology, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom. Electronic address: andrew.kemp@sydney.edu.au.
3
The Ohio State University, Department of Psychology, Columbus, OH, USA. Electronic address: beauchaine.1@osu.edu.
4
The Ohio State University, Department of Psychology, Columbus, OH, USA. Electronic address: Thayer.39@osu.edu.
5
Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: Michael.Kaess@med.uni-heidelberg.de.

Abstract

Among adults, depression is associated with reduced vagal activity, as indexed by high frequency heart rate variability [HF-HRV]), which correlates inversely with depression severity. Available evidence in depressed children and adolescents remains to be reviewed systematically. A search of the literature was performed to identify studies reporting (i) HF-HRV in clinically depressed children/adolescents relative to controls (k=4, n=259) and (ii) the association between HF-HRV and depressive symptoms as measured by standardized psychometric instruments in children and adolescents (k=6, n=2625). Random-effects meta-analysis on group differences revealed significant effects that were associated with a moderate effect size (Hedges' g=-0.59; 95% CI [-1.05; -0.13]), indicating lower resting state HF-HRV among clinically depressed children/adolescents (n=99) compared to healthy controls (n=160), consistent with findings among adults. While no correlation between HF-HRV and depressive symptom severity was observed (r=-.041 [-0.143; 0.062]), these additional correlational findings are limited to non-clinical samples. Findings have important clinical implications including a potentially increased risk for future physical ill health and also the identification of potential new treatment targets in child and adolescent depression.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Children; Depression; Depressive symptoms; Heart rate variability; Vagal activity

PMID:
27185312
DOI:
10.1016/j.cpr.2016.04.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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