Examining the Relation Between Physiological and Psychological Components of Stress Reactivity and Recovery in Cigarette Smokers

Abstract

Cigarette smokers exhibit reduced physiological stress reactivity, yet it is unclear whether blunted reactivity predicts differences in subjective recovery and vice versa. The study examined whether basal heart rate and heart rate reactivity were related to recovery in anxiety following stress, and conversely, whether initial self-reported anxiety and anxiety reactivity were related to heart rate recovery. Fifty-six smokers completed a 10-min baseline period, a 4-min stressor, and a 10-min recovery period during which heart rate and anxiety were continuously assessed. Results indicated significant linear (p < .01, d = 0.31) and quadratic (p = .02, d = 0.27) effects of baseline heart rate and reactivity (linear p < .01, d = 0.80; quadratic p < .01, d = 0.66) on recovery in anxiety and significant linear (p < .01, d = 0.88) and quadratic (p < .01, d = 0.74) effects of anxiety reactivity on heart rate recovery. These findings suggest that reduced reactivity in both heart rate and anxiety predicted slower recovery in the opposite domain. Findings offer initial evidence for psychophysiological integration in cigarette smokers.

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The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Borges, A.M., Selby, E., Bates, M. et al. Examining the Relation Between Physiological and Psychological Components of Stress Reactivity and Recovery in Cigarette Smokers. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 44, 131–141 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-019-09429-z

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Keywords

  • Psychophysiology
  • Heart rate reactivity
  • Anxiety reactivity
  • Smoking