Dispositional Mindfulness is Associated with Heart Rate Reactivity and Recovery in Response to a Lab Stressor.

Author: Beshai S1, Hammond BK1, Bjornson SE1
1University of Regina.
Conference/Journal: Stress Health.
Date published: 2019 Nov 18
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1002/smi.2900. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 230

Heightened perceived stress is consistently associated with symptoms of psychopathology. Perceived stress can be reliability linked with physiological responses, such as increased heart rate. Even though dispositional mindfulness is associated with lower self-reported stress, no studies to-date have examined whether dispositional mindfulness can predict physiological responses to and recovery from stress. We recruited 142 student participants and administered a measure of dispositional mindfulness (Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire - Short Form/FFMQ-SF) and a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Specifically, during the TSST, we instructed participants that they are about to deliver a presentation to a panel of judges, then informed them they no longer need to deliver this presentation, all while measuring their heart rate. We found that total FFMQ-SF and non-reactivity subscale scores were positively and significantly correlated with heart rate reactivity to the lab stressor. Further, we found that the FFMQ-SF facet of non-judgment was negatively and significantly correlated with the time it took for participants' heart rates to return to and stabilize at baseline. The results of this study elucidate potential mechanisms of mindfulness in stress. Specifically, mindfulness may not necessarily make people less reactive to stressors, but may operate through top-down processes to enhance recovery and resilience during stress.

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KEYWORDS: Dispositional mindfulness; Trier Social Stress Test; heart rate; non-judgement; resilience; stress

PMID: 31736208 DOI: 10.1002/smi.2900