The relationship between emotion regulation capacity, heart rate variability, and quality of life in individuals with alcohol-related brain damage
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The reliable measurement of quality of life (QoL) presents a challenge in individuals with alcohol-related brain damage. This study investigated vagally mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV) as a physiological predictor of QoL. Self- and proxy ratings of QoL and dysexecutive symptoms were collected once, while vmHRV was repeatedly assessed over a 3-week period at weekly intervals in a sample of nine alcohol-related brain damaged patients. We provide robustness checks, bootstrapped correlations with confidence intervals, and standard errors for mean scores. We observed low to very low heart rate variability scores in our patients in comparison to norm values found in healthy populations. Proxy ratings of the QoL scale "subjective physical and mental performance" and everyday executive dysfunctions were strongly related to vmHRV. Better proxy-rated QoL and fewer dysexecutive symptoms were observed in those patients with higher vmHRV. Overall, patients showed low parasympathetic activation favoring the occurrence of dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies.