Metabolic syndrome (MetS) encompasses metabolic abnormalities that substantially increase risk for chronic illnesses. MetS and stress are closely related; the pathophysiology of MetS involves dysregulated stress response in both the physiological and psychological domains. In an effort to further clarify the relationship between metabolic abnormalities and autonomic dysregulation, we used ambulatory impedance cardiography to examine indicators of cardiac autonomic control (CAC) in a sample of 50 adult primary care patients with and without MetS. Indices of sympathetic and parasympathetic influences on cardiovascular functioning were assessed in the context of psychological stressors and compared across experimental groups and examined in relation to self-reported health measures. Primary results suggest that while our experimental groups did not differ significantly on baseline measures, patterns of responses to experimentally induced stressors were largely consistent with our predictions, and demonstrate that individuals with MetS responded to stress cues with more maladaptive CAC scores. Moreover, in line with previous work, we found that elements of CAC in our sample were predictive of both cardiovascular disease and self-reported environmental quality of life. Overall, our results suggest that maladaptive physiological manifestations of the stress response are evident among individuals with MetS and may also be related to long-term health outcomes. The present study carries implications for both evaluation and assessment as well as treatment delivery and monitoring. In addition, the ambulatory nature of data collection demonstrated here supports trends toward mHealth and related initiatives in emerging modes of healthcare delivery.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Mitchell, Jonathan, "Cardiac Autonomic Control in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5100.