Naturalistic monitoring of the affect-heart rate relationship: A Day Reconstruction Study
Objective: Prospective studies have linked both negative affective states and trait neuroticism with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. However, identifying how fluctuations in cardiovascular activity in day-to-day settings are related to changes in affect and stable personality characteristics has remained a methodological and logistical challenge. Design - In the present study, we tested the association between affect, affect variability, personality and heart rate (HR) in daily life. Measures: We utilized an online day reconstruction survey to produce a continuous account of affect, interaction, and activity patterns during waking hours. Ambulatory HR was assessed during the same period. Consumption, activity, and baseline physiological characteristics were assessed in order to isolate the relationships between affect, personality and heart rate. Results: Negative affect and variability in positive affect predicted an elevated ambulatory HR and tiredness a lower HR. Emotional stability was inversely related to HR, whereas agreeableness predicted a higher HR. Baseline resting HR was unrelated to either affect or personality. Conclusion: The results suggest that both state and trait factors implicated in negative affectivity may be risk factors for increased cardiovascular reactivity in everyday life. Combining day reconstruction with psychophysiological and environmental monitoring is discussed as a minimally invasive method with promising interdisciplinary relevance.
heart rate, negative affect, affect variability, Big Five, Day Reconstruction Method
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