Pilot Study of a Single Session Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Intervention on Veterans’ Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms

Resource Type
  • Schuman, Donna (University of Texas at Arlington)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
heart rate variability; biofeedback; posttraumatic stress; veterans
  • Abstract

    Veterans with posttraumatic stress symptoms exhibit reduced heart rate variability characteristic of autonomic nervous system dysregulation. Studies show heart rate variability biofeedback is effective in reducing combat-related posttraumatic stress symptoms by improving autonomic functioning. In this pilot study, a wait list comparison group who received a necessary but insufficient component of the intervention (minimal diaphragmatic breath training) was used to determine if participation in a single-session heart rate variability biofeedback intervention, reinforced by twice daily practice for four weeks, could: (a) reduce posttraumatic stress symptoms in combat veterans (N=12), and (b) yield an intervention that the veterans would find acceptable. Heart rate variability biofeedback significantly reduced global posttraumatic stress symptoms, whereas diaphragmatic breathing in the wait list group did not. Further, veterans found the approach acceptable, as demonstrated by a high degree of compliance with prescribed practice, low study attrition, and continued use over time. Results of this pilot study warrant further refinement of a protocol utilizing mHealth to treat posttraumatic stress symptoms in military populations.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2015-04-30 / 2017-04-30
    Time Period: Thu Apr 30 00:00:00 EDT 2015--Sun Apr 30 00:00:00 EDT 2017 (Spring 2015)

Update Metadata: 2018-01-13 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2018-01-13