Decrease in heart rate variability response to task is related to anxiety and depressiveness in normal subjects
Version of Record online: 29 SEP 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology
Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Volume 62, Issue 5, pages 603–609, October 2008
How to Cite
Shinba, T., Kariya, N., Matsui, Y., Ozawa, N., Matsuda, Y. and Yamamoto, K.-i. (2008), Decrease in heart rate variability response to task is related to anxiety and depressiveness in normal subjects. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 62: 603–609. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2008.01855.x
- Issue online: 29 SEP 2008
- Version of Record online: 29 SEP 2008
- Received 26 February 2008; revised 8 July 2008; accepted 14 July 2008.
- heart rate variability;
- parasympathetic activity;
Aims: Previous studies have shown that heart rate variability (HRV) measurement is useful in investigating the pathophysiology of various psychiatric disorders. The present study further examined its usefulness in evaluating the mental health of normal subjects with respect to anxiety and depressiveness.
Methods: Heart rate (HR) and HRV were measured tonometrically at the wrist in 43 normal subjects not only in the resting condition but also during a task (random number generation) to assess the responsiveness. For HRV measurement, high-frequency (HF; 0.15–0.4 Hz) and low-frequency (LF; 0.04–0.15 Hz) components of HRV were obtained using MemCalc, a time series analysis technique that combines a non-linear least square method with maximum entropy method. For psychological evaluation of anxiety and depressiveness, two self-report questionnaires were used: State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS).
Results: No significant relation was observed between HR and HRV indices, and the psychological scores both in the resting and task conditions. By task application, HF decreased, and LF/HF and HR increased, and significant correlation with psychological scores was found in the responsiveness to task measured by the ratio of HRV and HR indices during the task to that at rest (task/rest ratio). A positive relationship was found between task/rest ratio for HF, and STAI and SDS scores. Task/rest ratio of HR was negatively correlated with STAI-state score.
Conclusion: Decreased HRV response to task application is related to anxiety and depressiveness. Decreased autonomic responsiveness could serve as a sign of psychological dysfunction.