Do vacations alter the connection between stress and cardiovascular activity? The effects of a planned vacation on the relationship between weekly stress and ambulatory heart rate

Bryce Hruska, Sarah D. Pressman, Kestutis Bendinskas, Brooks B. Gump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To examine how the association between psychological stress and ambulatory heart rate varies in the weeks before and after a planned vacation. We hypothesized that the impact of stress on heart rate would weaken in the weeks leading up to the vacation and return to normal levels in the weeks following the vacation. Method: Fifty-four workers eligible for paid vacation time were recruited; stress ratings obtained via weekly surveys and ambulatory heart rate readings obtained via a wrist-worn consumer device were collected before and after the vacation. Results: A statistically significant interaction was observed between weekly stress and the time period leading up to the vacation on ambulatory heart rate (b = −0.51, SE = 0.21, 95% CI = −0.91, −0.10, p = 0.01). A plot of predicted values demonstrated that the relationship between weekly stress and heart rate was stronger when the vacation was further away in the future and imparted less of an effect as the vacation approached. Conclusions: Vacations may have physical health benefits that extend beyond the vacation experience by reducing the association between stress and ambulatory heart rate in the weeks leading up to a planned vacation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-999
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume35
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2020

Keywords

  • Heart rate
  • psychological stress
  • recreation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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