Developmental patterns of respiratory sinus arrhythmia from toddlerhood to adolescence

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
Jessica Dollar, Research Scientist (Creator)
Susan P. Keane, Professor (Creator)
Laurie Wideman, Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Parasympathetic nervous system functioning as indexed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is widely used as a measure of physiological regulation. We examined developmental patterns of children’s resting RSA and RSA reactivity from 2 to 15 years of age, a period of time that is marked by considerable advances in children’s regulatory abilities. Physiological data were collected from a community sample of 270 children (116 males) during a resting period and during a frustration laboratory task when the children were 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, and 15 years old. We examined both stability and continuity in resting RSA and RSA reactivity across time. We found stability in resting RSA but not RSA reactivity from toddlerhood to adolescence. Separate multilevel models were used to examine changes in resting RSA and RSA reactivity from Age 2 to Age 15. The rate of change in resting RSA slowed from Age 2 to Age 15 with a plateau around Age 10. A splined growth model indicated that the rate of RSA reactivity increased from Age 2 to Age 7 and a modest slowing and leveling off from Age 7 to Age 15. Understanding the developmental characteristics of RSA across childhood and adolescence is important to understanding the larger constructs of self- and emotion regulation.

Additional Information

Developmental Psychology, 56(4), 783-794
Language: English
Date: 2020
self-regulation, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, resting RSA, RSA withdrawal

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