Naturalistic Monitoring of the Affect-Heart Rate Relationship: A Day Reconstruction Study



Daly M, Delaney L, Doran P, Harmon C & MacLachlan M (2010) Naturalistic Monitoring of the Affect-Heart Rate Relationship: A Day Reconstruction Study. Health Psychology, 29 (2), pp. 186-195.

Objective: Prospective studies have linked negative affect with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. This study aims to identify if cardiovascular activity in day-to-day settings is related to affect levels as assessed using the Day Reconstruction Method (Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, & Stone, 2004).Design: 186 people underwent baseline physiological testing and were monitored naturalistically for an entire day. Multilevel models were the principal analyses used.Main Outcome Measures: We utilized an online day reconstruction survey to produce a continuous account of affect, social interactions, and activity patterns during waking hours. Ambulatory heart rate (HR) was assessed during the same period. Personality, health behavior, consumption, self-reported activity, and baseline physiological characteristics were assessed to isolate the relationships between affect and HR.Results: Negative affect predicted an elevated ambulatory HR and tiredness predicted a lower HR. Associations between negative affectivity and increased cardiovascular reactivity were maintained after taking account of baseline physiological factors, health behavior, and personality.Conclusion: Negative affect in everyday life is a reliable predictor of HR. Combining day reconstruction with psychophysiological and environmental monitoring is a minimally invasive method with promising interdisciplinary relevance.

Heart rate; Negative affect; Big Five; Day Reconstruction Method

Health Psychology: Volume 29, Issue 2

Publication date31/03/2010
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association