Respiratory sinus arrythmia and PTSD: a meta-analysis

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Allison Campbell (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Blair Wisco

Abstract: The literature examining respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has increased over the past two decades. Research suggests that people with PTSD have lower RSA than individuals without PTSD. But these findings have been mixed. When assessed dimensionally within individuals diagnosed with PTSD, research also suggests that RSA is negatively correlated with PTSD symptom severity, but some failures to replicate have been reported and the overall magnitude of this effect is unknown, suggesting the need for a comprehensive meta-analysis. This meta-analysis of 50 studies (including unpublished data) examined the association between PTSD and RSA, and potential moderators of this association. A significant small effect size (g = -0.22) was observed, with moderate heterogeneity. None of the moderator variables examined (i.e., control group, trauma type, PTSD measure, RSA measure, age, gender) explained the effect size’s heterogeneity. Publication bias analyses suggested little evidence for publication bias among the meta-analysis findings. Overall, this meta-analysis provides clarity to the mixed literature surrounding the association between RSA and PTSD. However, future research should examine other potential moderating variables of this association.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Meta-analysis, PTSD, Respiratory sinus arrhythmia
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Heart $x Psychophysiology
Sinoatrial node
Heart beat

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