Relationship Between Chronic Stress and Heart Rate Over Time Modulated by Gender in a Cohort of Office Workers: Cross-Sectional Study Using Wearable Technologies
van Kraaij, A.W.J.
van Hoof, C.
BACKGROUND: Chronic stress is increasing in prevalence and is associated with several physical and mental disorders. Although it is proven that acute stress changes physiology, much less is known about the relationship between physiology and long-term stress. Continuous measurement of vital signs in daily life and chronic stress detection algorithms could serve this purpose. For this, it is paramount to model the effects of chronic stress on human physiology and include other cofounders, such as demographics, enabling the enrichment of a population-wide approach with individual variations. OBJECTIVE: The main objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of chronic stress on heart rate (HR) over time while correcting for weekdays versus weekends and to test a possible modulation effect by gender and age in a healthy cohort. METHODS: Throughout 2016 and 2017, healthy employees of technology companies were asked to participate in a 5-day observation stress study. They were required to wear two wearables, of which one included an electrocardiogram sensor. The derived HR was averaged per hour and served as an output for a mixed design model including a trigonometric fit over time with four harmonics (periods of 24, 12, 8, and 6 hours), gender, age, whether it was a workday or weekend day, and a chronic stress score derived from the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) as predictors. RESULTS: The study included 328 subjects, of which 142 were female and 186 were male participants, with a mean age of 38.9 (SD 10.2) years and a mean PSS score of 13.7 (SD 6.0). As main effects, gender (χ21=24.02, P
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Journal of medical Internet research, 22 (22)