, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 101-112
Date: 10 Mar 2011

Exploring the Effectiveness of a Computer-Based Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Program in Reducing Anxiety in College Students

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Abstract

Given the pervasiveness of stress and anxiety in our culture it is important to develop and implement interventions that can be easily utilized by large numbers of people that are readily available, inexpensive and have minimal side effects. Two studies explored the effectiveness of a computer-based heart rate variability biofeedback program on reducing anxiety and negative mood in college students. A pilot project (n = 9) of highly anxious students revealed sizable decreases in anxiety and negative mood following utilizing the program for 4 weeks. A second study (n = 35) employing an immediate versus delayed treatment design replicated the results, although the magnitude of the impact was not quite as strong. Despite observing decreases in anxiety, the expected changes in psychophysiological coherence were not observed.