Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Robert R. Althoff
Extant literature suggests that experiences of childhood adversity put individuals at increased risk for deleterious emotional-behavioral and metabolic outcomes. However, the precise mechanisms through which early adversity confers risk for such outcomes remains poorly understood. Therefore, this project sought to examine the extent to which Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia reactivity (RSA-R), a metric of Parasympathetic Nervous System functioning, influences the relationship between adversity exposure and metrics of emotional-behavioral and metabolic health during childhood. Based on prior literature, we hypothesized that RSA-R would significantly moderate the association between exposure to childhood adversity and both emotional-behavioral and metabolic health. This hypothesis was partially supported. Indeed, RSA-R interacted with experiences of childhood adversity to predict internalizing symptoms and metabolic dysfunction. The implications of these findings and directions for future research will be discussed.
Number of Pages
O'Loughlin, Kerry, "The Role of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Reactivity on the Association between Childhood Adversity, Symptoms of Psychopathology, and Metabolic Health" (2020). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 1113.