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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1997 May;38(4):457-69.

Anxiety, antisocial behavior, and heart rate regulation in adolescent males.

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Harvard University, Boston, USA.


We explored relationships between anxiety and antisocial behavior and autonomic heart rate regulation in a homogenous sample (N = 175) of 15-year-old males. Measures of anxiety and antisocial behavior were obtained at yearly intervals over a period of 4-6 years. Components of heart rate variability associated with postural (sympathetic) and respiratory (vagal) change and transfer of respiratory to heart rate variability were estimated at age 15 using spectral analytic techniques. Anxiety and antisocial behavior were predictably related to enhanced and diminished levels of mean heart rate, respectively. Anxiety was also predictably related to enhanced sympathetic mediation of phasic postural effects on heart rate. Antisocial behavior was unexpectedly related to disruption of vagally mediated, phasic respiratory effects on heart rate. Anxiety and antisocial behavior showed distinct relationships to heart rate, and to the autonomically mediated components of heart rate variability from postural and respiratory sources. Spectral analytic techniques helped elucidate these unique regulatory patterns, suggesting utility for future research in this area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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