A1 Journal article (refereed)
Measuring psychosocial stress with heart rate variability-based methods in different health and age groups (2022)

Seipäjärvi, S. M., Tuomola, A., Juurakko, J., Rottensteiner, M., Rissanen, A.-P. E., Kurkela, J. L. O., Kujala, U. M., Laukkanen, J. A., & Wikgren, J. (2022). Measuring psychosocial stress with heart rate variability-based methods in different health and age groups. Physiological Measurement, 43(5), Article 055002. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6579/ac6b7c

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsSeipäjärvi, Santtu M.; Tuomola, Anniina; Juurakko, Joona; Rottensteiner, Mirva; Rissanen, Antti-Pekka E.; Kurkela, Jari L. O.; Kujala, Urho M.; Laukkanen, Jari A.; Wikgren, Jan

Journal or seriesPhysiological Measurement



Publication year2022

Publication date25/05/2022


Issue number5

Article number055002

PublisherIOP Publishing

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81977


Objective. Autonomic nervous system function and thereby bodily stress and recovery reactions may be assessed by wearable devices measuring heart rate (HR) and its variability (HRV). So far, the validity of HRV-based stress assessments has been mainly studied in healthy populations. In this study, we determined how psychosocial stress affects physiological and psychological stress responses in both young (18–30 years) and middle-aged (45–64 years) healthy individuals as well as in patients with arterial hypertension and/or either prior evidence of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. We also studied how an HRV-based stress index (Relax-Stress Intensity, RSI) relates to perceived stress (PS) and cortisol (CRT) responses during psychosocial stress. Approach. A total of 197 participants were divided into three groups: (1) healthy young (HY, N = 63), (2) healthy middle-aged (HM, N = 61) and (3) patients with cardiometabolic risk factors (Pts, N = 73, 32–65 years). The participants underwent a group version of Trier Social Stress Test (TSST-G). HR, HRV (quantified as root mean square of successive differences of R–R intervals, RMSSD), RSI, PS, and salivary CRT were measured regularly during TSST-G and a subsequent recovery period. Main results. All groups showed significant stress reactions during TSST-G as indicated by significant responses of HR, RMSSD, RSI, PS, and salivary CRT. Between-group differences were also observed in all measures. Correlation and regression analyses implied RSI being the strongest predictor of CRT response, while HR was more closely associated with PS. Significance. The HRV-based stress index mirrors responses of CRT, which is an independent marker for physiological stress, around TSST-G. Thus, the HRV-based stress index may be used to quantify physiological responses to psychosocial stress across various health and age groups.

Keywordsstress (biological phenomena)psychosocial factorsphysiological effectsmeasuring methodspulseheart rate monitorspsychophysiologycardiovascular diseases

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-30-04 at 17:56