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Reliability of the BodyGuard2 (FirstBeat) in the Detection of Heart Rate Variability


There has been an increasing interest in using cardiac indicators of self-regulation in developmental science. Many researchers are interested in unobtrusive mobile devises that are able to collect reliable cardiac data outside of the laboratory setting. Although numerous new ambulatory devices have become available over the last decade, testing these devices on children in comparison to industry gold-standard devices is rarely conducted. The current study evaluated the reliability of one of these ambulatory systems, the BodyGuard2 (FirstBeat), relative to gold-standard laboratory electrocardiogram (Biopac MP150), during active and resting conditions in 4- to 6-year-old children. The BodyGuard2 performed and produced highly similar indices of heart rate variability across resting and active conditions.

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Data are available upon request.


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We thank the children and families who participated in the research as well as Amanda Grenell, and Stephanie Carlson for their help with data collection and processing. This research was supported by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Health (T32 MH015755 to ARP), the University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Fellowship (to ARP), and the Institute of Child Development Graduate Student Small Grants Program (to RD). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Alyssa R. Palmer.

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None of the authors have any conflict of interest to declare nor any interest or relationship with the company FirstBeat.

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Palmer, A.R., Distefano, R., Leneman, K. et al. Reliability of the BodyGuard2 (FirstBeat) in the Detection of Heart Rate Variability. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 46, 251–258 (2021).

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  • Ambulatory measures
  • Heart rate variability
  • Inter-beat interval
  • BodyGuard2
  • Biopac