Effects of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Biofeedback Versus Passive Biofeedback Control

Leslie Sherlin, Richard Gevirtz, Sarah Wyckoff, Fred Muench

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the acute effects of a portable respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) biofeedback device as compared to passive biofeedback control on state anxiety, heart rate (HR), and Stroop task (Congedo, 2003) performance during repeated administration of the Stroop task cognitive stressor in a single brief session. Participants were individuals reporting stress levels at least 1 SD above the mean on the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983). The RSA group had significantly reduced HR compared to the control group at postintervention and Stressor 2. Both groups significantly improved Stroop scores. Together, these preliminary results suggest that brief relaxation training can reduce state anxiety but that RSA biofeedback appears to have added benefits in reducing state anxiety and HR stress reactivity compared to passive relaxation techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Stress Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • biofeedback
  • respiratory sinus arrhythmia
  • stress reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


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