Dynamic measures of RSA predict distress and regulation in toddlers

Rebecca J. Brooker, Kristin A. Buss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined a new method for quantifying individual variability using dynamic measures of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). Thismethod incorporated temporal variation into the measurement of RSA and provided information beyond that offered by more traditional quantifications such as difference scores. Dynamic and static measures of change in RSA were tested in relation to displays of emotion and affective behaviors during a fear-eliciting episode in a sample of 88 typically developing and high-fear toddlers during a laboratory visit at age 24 months. Dynamic measures of RSA contributed information that was unique from traditionally employed, static change scores in predicting high-fear toddlers' displays of shyness during a fear-eliciting episode. In contrast, RSA change scores offered information related to boldness in nonhigh-fear children. In addition, several associations included estimates of nonlinear change in RSA. Implications for the study of individual differences in RSA and relations with emotion and emotion regulation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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