Anxiety, Stress & Coping. Volume 17, Issue 4, 2004, 331-339. Self-implication and heart rate variability during simulated exposure to flight-related stimuli. DOI:10.1080/10615800512331328777. Xavier Bornas, Jordi Llabrés, Miquel Noguera, Ana M. López, Francesca Barceló, Miquel Tortella-Feliu & Miquel Àngel Fullana
In the present study, the relationship between self-implication during simulated exposure to feared stimuli and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was explored within the framework of the dynamical systems model of emotion regulation proposed by Thayer and Lane (Thayer, J.F., and Lane, R.D. (2000). A model of neurovisceral integration in emotion regulation and dysregulation. Journal of Affective Disorders, 61, 201–216.). An analogue sample of flight phobics (n=15) and a matched non-phobic control group (n=15) were presented with flight-related pictures, flight-related sounds or flight-related pictures and sounds. Significant differences on self-implication during exposure to flight-related sounds were found between low and high HRV fearful flyers, the former being more self-implied. However, the expected HRV decreases in the phobic participants exposed to feared stimuli were not found. These results emphasize the need to distinguish between high and low HRV fearful flyers in order to make a better use of the simulated exposure treatments.