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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-27

Heart rate variability: New perspectives on assessment of stress and health risk at the workplace

1 Hong Kong Association of Psychology, Hong Kong, China
2 Department of Research, Institute of HeartMath, Boulder Creek, California, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Adrian Low
Hong Kong Association of Psychology,Room 906, 9/F, Office Tower 2, Grand Plaza, 625 Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_11_18

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Introduction: Cardiovascular diseases are the highest cause of death in the world. Many of these deaths may be workplace related. Long hours at work seem to be influencing the increased risks of heart diseases. Workplace stress can be defined as the “discrepancies between the physiological demands within a workplace and the inability of employees to either manage or cope with such work demands.” The varied nature and perception of stress are exemplified from literature that shows stress being either a stimulus, or a response, or a stimulus–response combination, also known as a transactional relationship between one or more individuals and the environment, leading to an initiative toward a physiological standpoint. Methods: This research opted for a correlational study which involves 85 full-time employees who were working at least 40 h per week in a large corporation participated in this study. The Personal and Organizational Quality Assessment and Perceived Stress Scale were used to correlate with heart rate variability (HRV). Objectives: The primary objective of this study is to introduce a new quantitative assessment tool emWave Pro Plus (Institute of HeartMath) and compare heart rate variability (HRV) results with the Personal and Organizational Quality Assessment (POQA) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Results: Astonishing findings emerged. Significant positive correlations were found between emotional stress and HRV and between intention to quit and HRV. In other words, the researcher has to make sense the following surprising findings: (1) The higher the emotional stress an employee faces, the healthier they are. (2) Healthier employees may have higher intentions of quitting their jobs. Conclusion: The surprising results may be attributed to personality, culture, emotional regulation, and age among others.

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