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Naturalistic monitoring of the affect-heart rate relationship: A Day Reconstruction Study

Listed author(s):
  • Michael Daly

    (School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin & UCD Geary Institute)

  • Liam Delaney

    (UCD Geary Institute & School of Economics, University College Dublin & School of Public Health and Population Science, University College Dublin)

  • Colm Harmon

    (UCD Geary Institute & School of Economics, University College Dublin & IZA, Bonn)

  • Peter Doran

    (UCD Clinical Research Centre)

  • Malcolm MacLachlan

    (School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin)

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.

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File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200901.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 02 Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200901
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  1. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2008. "The reliability of subjective well-being measures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1833-1845, August.
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