Discrepancies regarding the link between autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity and psychopathology may be due in part to inconsistent measurement of non-psychological factors, including eating, drinking, activity, posture, and interacting with others. Rather than sources of noise, behaviors like being active and being with others may be the behavioral pathways that connect psychopathology symptoms to autonomic activity. The present study examined whether behaviors mediate the association of depression, anxiety, and hypomanic traits with ANS by using experience sampling methodology and ambulatory impedance cardiography. Participants (n = 49) completed measures of affect and one day of experience sampling and ambulatory impedance cardiography. The association of hypomanic traits with heart rate variability and heart rate was mediated by physical activity, and social activity mediated the association of depressive symptoms and respiration. These results highlight the importance of considering the pathways between psychopathology and ANS and the mediating role that everyday behaviors play.
International Journal of Psychophysiology – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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