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Stress. 2018 May;21(3):211-216. doi: 10.1080/10253890.2018.1433161. Epub 2018 Jan 30.

School burnout and heart rate variability: risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in young adult females.

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a Family Institute , The Florida State University , Tallahassee , FL , USA.
b Division of Clinical and Translational Research , Larkin Community Hospital , South Miami , FL , USA.


Emerging research documents the relationship between school burnout and some indicators of increased cardiovascular risk. Indicators of cardiovascular functioning assessed via ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate variability (HRV) have not been thoroughly explored in this research domain. Therefore, the current study examined relationships between school burnout and indicators of cardiac functioning via 24ā€‰h ambulatory blood pressure (BP) and electrocardiogram monitoring in a sample of young adult female undergraduates (Nā€‰=ā€‰88). Two hypotheses were tested: (1) that independent of related negative affective symptomology (depression and anxiety), increased school burnout would be related to greater systolic and diastolic BP, higher low frequency (LF) HRV and lower very low frequency (VLF) HRV, and (2) that lower VLF would be related to greater school burnout independently of LF HRV. Hierarchical multiple regression analyzes showed that school burnout was significantly related to elevated ambulatory BP (systolic and diastolic) and HRV markers of increased cardiac sympathovagal tone. These findings support the hypotheses and suggest that school burnout might be implicated in the development of pre-hypertension or early cardiovascular disease. Study limitations and the need for future longitudinal research are discussed.


Blood pressure; cardiovascular risk; heart rate variability; hypertension; physiology; school burnout

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