Vulnerabilità e resilienza durante il primo lockdown: i risultati in uno studio firmato anche dall’Università di Parma

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15:18:20
Novembre
12 2021

Vulnerabilità e resilienza durante il primo lockdown: i risultati in uno studio firmato anche dall’Università di Parma

Testato il valore della variabilità della frequenza cardiaca come marker psicofisiologico precoce

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Parma - È possibile predire il livello di vulnerabilità/resilienza delle persone allo stress psicosociale? Tanto più in un periodo delicatissimo come quello della pandemia? Lo studio “Safe in my heart: resting heart rate variability longitudinally predicts emotion regulation, worry and sense of safeness during COVID-19 lockdown”, da poco pubblicato sulla rivista Stress e firmato da Luca Carnevali e Andrea Sgoifo (Università di Parma), Elena Makovac e Sonia Medina (King’s College London), Nicola Petrocchi (John Cabot University, Roma) e Cristiana Ottaviani (Sapienza Università di Roma), ha dato una serie di risposte concrete a queste domande.

La variabilità della frequenza cardiaca (Heart Rate Variability, HRV) è da tempo considerata un indicatore importante di salute fisica e mentale dell’individuo. In particolare, diversi studi hanno evidenziato l’esistenza di una relazione stretta tra valori elevati di HRV a riposo e maggiore capacità di regolare efficacemente le proprie emozioni in risposta a fattori di stress psicosociale.

Lo stress sociale ed emotivo generato dalla pandemia da #SARS-Cov2 ha rappresentato uno scenario per testare il ruolo dell’HRV come predittore longitudinale di vulnerabilità/resilienza psicofisiologica.

La ricerca si è svolta durante il primo lockdown del maggio 2020 in individui sani che avevano precedentemente partecipato ad altri studi condotti dal team di ricerca e per i quali erano disponibili misure di HRV a riposo pre-pandemia. Ai partecipanti sono stati somministrati una serie di questionari psicometrici online volti a determinate le loro strategie di regolazione delle emozioni e il loro tono d’umore in relazione alla situazione che stavano vivendo. Elevati valori di HRV a riposo pre-pandemia (in media 2 anni prima) sono risultati essere predittivi di un impiego di strategie di regolazione delle emozioni più efficienti, nonché di un minor senso di preoccupazione e maggiore sicurezza durante il periodo di lockdown.

I risultati hanno inoltre evidenziato una correlazione positiva tra la percezione di rischio associato a COVID-19 e sintomi di depressione.

In considerazione del fatto che la pandemia di COVID-19 ha prodotto un diffuso aumento di problemi di salute mentale, tra cui ansia e depressione, la ricerca, volta a identificare marker psicofisiologici precoci di vulnerabilità/resilienza (come l’HRV), ha una potenziale rilevanza clinica.

Safe in my heart: resting heart rate variability longitudinally predicts emotion regulation, worry, and sense of safeness during COVID-19 lockdown

Elena Makovac, Luca Carnevali, Sonia Medina, Andrea Sgoifo, Nicola Petrocchi &Cristina Ottaviani. Received 23 Jun 2021, Accepted 24 Oct 2021, Accepted author version posted online: 29 Oct 2021, Published online: 09 Nov 2021

Abstract: Resting heart rate variability (HRV), a surrogate index of cardiac vagal modulation, is considered a putative biomarker of stress resilience as it reflects the ability to effectively regulate emotions in a changing environment. However, most studies are cross-sectional, precluding longitudinal inferences. The high degree of uncertainty and fear at a global level that characterizes the #COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to explore the utility of HRV measures as longitudinal predictors of stress resilience. This study examined whether resting measures of HRV prior to the COVID-19 outbreak (i.e. nearly 2 years before; Time 0) could predict emotion regulation strategies and daily affect in healthy adults during the May 2020 lockdown (Time 1). Moreover, we evaluated the association between HRV measures, emotion regulation strategies, subjective perception of COVID-19 risk, and self-reported depressive symptoms at Time 1. Higher resting HRV at Time 0 predicted a stronger engagement in more functional emotion regulation strategies, as well as of higher daily feelings of safeness and reduced daily worry at Time 1. Moreover, depressive symptoms negatively correlated with HRV and positively correlated with the subjective perception of COVID-19 risk at Time 1. Current data support the view that HRV might not only be a marker but also a precursor of resilience under stressful times. http://dx.doi.org/...253890.2021.1999408


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