Why do you sigh? Sigh rate during induced stress and relief

Elke Vlemincx, Ilse Van Diest, Steven De Peuter, Johan Bresseleers, Katleen Bogaerts, Stien Fannes, Wan Li, Omer Van Den Bergh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Whereas sighing appears to function as a physiological resetter, the psychological function of sighing is largely unknown. Sighing has been suggested to occur both during stress and negative emotions, such as panic and pain, and during positive emotions, such as relaxation and relief. In three experiments, sigh rate was investigated during short imposed states of stress and relief. Stress was induced by exposure to a loud noise stressor or by anticipation of it. Relief was induced by the end of the stressor or the anticipation that no stressor would follow. Breathing parameters were recorded continuously by means of the LifeShirt System. Results consistently showed that more sighing occurred during conditions of relief compared to conditions of stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1013
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Breathing behavior
  • LifeShirt System
  • Relief
  • Sighing
  • Stress


Dive into the research topics of 'Why do you sigh? Sigh rate during induced stress and relief'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this