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The association between self-reported stress and cardiovascular measures in daily life: A systematic review

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Stress plays an important role in the development of mental illness, and an increasing number of studies is trying to detect moments of perceived stress in everyday life based on physiological data gathered using ambulatory devices. However, based on laboratory studies, there is only modest evidence for a relationship between self-reported stress and physiological ambulatory measures. This descriptive systematic review evaluates the evidence for studies investigating an association between self-reported stress and physiological measures under daily life conditions. METHODS: Three databases were searched for articles assessing an association between self-reported stress and cardiovascular and skin conductance measures simultaneously over the course of at least a day. RESULTS: We reviewed findings of 36 studies investigating an association between self-reported stress and cardiovascular measures with overall 135 analyses of associations between self-reported stress and cardiovascular measures. Overall, 35% of all analyses showed a significant or marginally significant association in the expected direction. The most consistent results were found for perceived stress, high-arousal negative affect scales, and event-related self-reported stress measures, and for frequency-domain heart rate variability physiological measures. There was much heterogeneity in measures and methods. CONCLUSION: These findings confirm that daily-life stress-dynamics are complex and require a better understanding. Choices in design and measurement seem to play a role. We provide some guidance for future studies.
Journal: PLoS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
Issue: 11
Volume: 16
Publication year:2021
Accessibility:Open