In this study, we examined the efficacy of heart rate variability (HRV)-biofeedback on stress and stress-related mental health problems in women. Furthermore, we examined whether the efficacy differed between pregnant and non-pregnant women. Fifty women (20 pregnant, 30 non-pregnant; mean age 31.6, SD = 5.9) were randomized into an intervention (n = 29) or a waitlist condition (n = 21). All participants completed questionnaires on stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, sleep, and psychological well-being on three occasions with 6-week intervals. Women in the intervention condition received HRV-biofeedback training between assessment 1 and 2, and women in the waitlist condition received the intervention between assessment 2 and 3. The intervention consisted of a 5-week HRV-biofeedback training program with weekly 60–90 min. sessions and daily exercises at home. Results indicated a statistically significant beneficial effect of HRV-biofeedback on psychological well-being for all women, and an additional statistically significant beneficial effect on anxiety complaints for pregnant women. No significant effect was found for the other stress-related complaints. These findings support the use of HRV-biofeedback as a stress-reducing technique among women reporting stress and related complaints in clinical practice to improve their well-being. Furthermore, it supports the use of this technique for reducing anxiety during pregnancy.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Mar 2019|
Bibliographical notePublished [online]: 23 March 2019
- Psychological well-being