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J Affect Disord. 2016 May 15;196:243-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.040. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

High frequency heart-rate variability predicts adolescent depressive symptoms, particularly anhedonia, across one year.

Author information

1
Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
2
School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, USA.
3
Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Developmental Electrophysiology Laboratory, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT, USA.
4
Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
5
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
6
Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Neuroscience and CASAColumbia, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Connecticut Mental Health Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; CASAColumbia, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
7
Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Program for Anxiety Disorders, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT, USA; Developmental Electrophysiology Laboratory, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT, USA. Electronic address: michael.crowley@yale.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few prospective studies examine the link between lower heart rate variability (HRV) and depression symptoms in adolescents. A recent animal model specifically links HRV to anhedonia, suggesting a potential translational model for human research.

METHOD:

We investigated the association between spectral measures of resting HRV and depressive symptoms measured one year later, among 73 adolescents, aged 11-18 years. We evaluated (1) the predictive power of relative high frequency (HF) HRV, relative low frequency (LF) and relative very low frequency (VLF) HRV for depressive symptoms; and (2) the relative strength of association between HF HRV and depressive symptomatology (anhedonia, negative mood, interpersonal problems, ineffectiveness, negative self-esteem).

RESULTS:

HF HRV significantly predicted self-reported depressive symptoms across one year, controlling for age, puberty and sex. HF HRV was most strongly associated with anhedonia one year later, after considering other facets of depressive symptomatology.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results provide support for the prospective relationship between relative HF HRV and depressive symptoms among adolescents across one year. Findings concur with rodent models that suggest a specific link between HF HRV and anhedonia.

LIMITATIONS:

We investigated relative spectral power HF HRV and depressive symptom dimensions. We cannot make strong claims about these associations in clinical depression. Physical activity levels could be controlled in future work.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Anhedonia; Depression; Heart rate variability; Time-frequency analysis

PMID:
26943940
PMCID:
PMC4844545
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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