We would like to thank the five UK Research Councils’ New Dynamics of Ageing Programme (NDA) for funding the “Older people's use of unfamiliar spaces” (OPUS) study, Grant number RES-352-25-0003. We also thank Mark DelAguila for his assistance with data collection, and we are grateful to Nigel Foreman, Ann Hockey, Nigel Walford, and Edgar Samarasundera for their valuable contributions to the design of the study.
Older people's cardiac responses as indicators of stress in familiar and unfamiliar environments
Article first published online: 16 DEC 2011
Copyright © 2011 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 49, Issue 4, pages 478–483, April 2012
How to Cite
Lewis, M. J. and Phillips, J. E. (2012), Older people's cardiac responses as indicators of stress in familiar and unfamiliar environments. Psychophysiology, 49: 478–483. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01321.x
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 16 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Received: 13 JUN 2011
- UK Research Councils. Grant Number: RES-352-25-0003
- Cardiac stress;
- Heart rate variability;
- Older population
Little is known about older people's physiological and emotional responses to environmental triggers. We examined this by estimating cardiac stress from heart rate variability (HRV). Thirty-eight participants were monitored while observing environmental scenarios at familiar and unfamiliar locations. Image scenarios included pedestrian and driving scenes in a random order. HRV indices including heart rate (HR), QT variability index (QTVI) and Total HRV Power (TP) were quantified. Familiar locations were associated with higher HR (p < .0005) and lower TP (p = .005) than unfamiliar locations, suggesting they were more stressful. HRV responses to pedestrian and driving scenarios indicated that stress was not influenced by either the type of image scenario or the order of image presentation. There were no gender-related differences in cardiac responses. HRV is a useful surrogate of cardiac stress when assessing older people's responses to their environments.