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Research Library

Emotion Regulation After Acquired Brain Injury: A Study of Heart Rate Variability, attentional Control, and Psychophysiology

    • Published: 2019
    • Sonya Kim1, Vance Zemon2, Paul Lehrer3, Rollin McCraty4, Marie M. Cavallo5, Preeti Raghavan6, Jay (Jp) Ginsberg7, and Frederick W. Foley2,8
    • Emotion Regulation After Acquired Brain Injury: A Study of Heart Rate Variability, Attentional Control, and Psychophysiology, Brain Injury, 2019. DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2019.1593506.1. Department of Neurology and Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA. 2. Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Yeshiva University, New York, NY, USA. 3. Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA. 4. HeartMath Research Center, Boulder Creek, CA, USA. 5. AHRC-NYC, New York, NY, USA. 6. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA. 7. Dorn VA Medical Center, Columbia, SC, USA. 8. Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Multiple Sclerosis Center, Holy Name Hospital, New York, NY, USA.
    • Download the complete paper, click here.


Primary Objective

To examine the efficacy of heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) to treat emotional dysregulation in persons with acquired brain injury.


A secondary analysis of a quasi-experimental study which enrolled 13 individuals with severe chronic acquired brain injury participating in a community-based programme. Response-to-treatment was measured with two HRV resonance indices (low frequency activity [LF] and low frequency/high frequency ratio [LF/HF]).

Main Outcome

Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-informant report (emotional control subscale [EC]).


Results show significant correlation between LF and EC with higher LF activity associated with greater emotional control; the association between LF/HF pre-post-change score and EC is not statistically significant. A moderation model, however, demonstrates a significant influence of attention on the relation between LF/HF change and EC when attention level is high, with an increase in LF/HF activity associated with greater emotional control.