University of Twente Student Theses


Heart rate and self-reported stress : a real life measurement of the intra-individual relationship

Friesen, Jennifer (2018) Heart rate and self-reported stress : a real life measurement of the intra-individual relationship.

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Abstract:The feeling of being stressed and elevated heart rate (HR) are two indicators of stress. However, no studies directly assessed the psychophysiological relationship between these two. The present study is the first to explore the direct relation between perceived stress and HR. There are studies that indirectly suggest a potential positive one-to-one relationship (e.g. Brugnera et al., 2018; Sloan et al., 1994). While, Verkuil et al. (2016) could not support these findings. This study differs from previous studies in approaching the psychophysiological relation on an intra-individual level which is suggested in studies on subjective psychological constructs (e.g. Reisenzein, 2000). Participants wore a biosensor for seven days in order to measure heart rate and reported subjective stress levels on a smartphone application. Intra-individual correlations were calculated and data was split twice, in order to examine the consistency of correlations within individuals. The results reveal that the found intra-individual correlations are not significant and vary widely in strength and direction. In total, the correlations approximate a normal distribution which suggests no tendency for a positive or negative relationship. Also, correlations are not consistent within individuals meaning no pattern or tendency could be detected here either. The present paper is therefore not able to support a one-to-one relationship between perceived stress and HR and is in line with the findings of Verkuil et al. (2016). Explaining constructs such as unconscious stress or alexithymia are suggested to be included in future studies.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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