Maintaining effective performance under stress can be challenging, especially in the dangerous environments encountered by the police and military personnel. This document reviews the impact of stress on performance, discusses breath interventions as a means of stress mitigation, suggests an approach for exploring the value of a breath intervention in police cadets, tests, analyzes, and discusses a test of this method and results. Biofeedback training can be used to produce resonance breathing that is synchronized with heart rate and optimizes heart rate variability (HRV). This intervention was expected to alleviate physiological and subjective stress responses. Studies reviewed confirm that higher HRV is associated with lower stress and better cognitive performance. Training resonance breathing produces similar results when studies are well-designed. Relative to controls, resonance breathing training should improve the performance of police cadets on a series of cognitive and physical tests included in their curriculum, and on a simulated operational scenario given at the end of training. Research also tested whether personality traits associated with resilience predict higher baseline HRV and better performance during training.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Modeling & Simulation
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Napier, Samantha, "A Breathing Intervention to Enhance Cardiac Regulation and Mitigate Stress in Police Cadets" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 534.
Restricted to the UCF community until May 2021; it will then be open access.