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Stress. 2007 Nov;10(4):368-74.

Resilience and vagal tone predict cardiac recovery from acute social stress.

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Institute of Biophysics Carlos Chagas Filho, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Previous studies showed that heart period decreases during and recovers after an acute stress. We investigated if individual predispositions and emotional priming influence heart period recovery after a speech stress task. Psychometric scales and resting cardiac vagal tone were used to measure individual traits. The presentation of a sequence of either pleasant or unpleasant pictures, as emotional primers, preceded the speech stress. Heart period was measured throughout the experiment. Stress induced tachycardia irrespective of emotional priming or traits. In the recovery period, participants with higher resting cardiac vagal tone or presenting higher resilience significantly reduced the heart acceleration. Furthermore, these traits interacted synergistically in the promotion of the recovery of heart period. Pleasant priming also improved recovery for participants with lower negative affect. In conclusion, the stress recovery measured through heart period seemed dependent upon individual predispositions and emotional priming. These findings further strengthen previous observations on the association between greater cardiac vagal tone and the ability to regulate emotion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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