MEDITATING WITH A FRIEND ENHANCES MEDITATION-RELATED IMPROVEMENTS TO VAGAL TONE
Social support has been shown to improve both physical and mental health. Previous research suggests social resources provide metabolic relief by dampening vigilance and threat response. However, the extent to which social support influences autonomic nervous system function is unclear. Motivated by Polyvagal Theory and Social Baseline Theory, the current study examines social support and meditation as potential resources to moderate the influence of the vagal nerve over the cardiovascular system. Time domain measures of heart rate variability (RMSSD) and subjective units of distress (SUDS) were examined using a linear mixed-effects model (contemplative practice*social condition) while controlling for nuisance variables. Data analysis revealed no significant main effect between contemplative practice or the presence of social support and changes to vagal tone. However, an interaction was found between social support and meditation such that when meditating, those with social support showed the greatest heart rate variability.
heart rate variability; meditation; social support; vagal tone
Gonzalez, Marlen Z.
Anderson, Adam K.; DeRosa, Eve D.
M.A., Human Development
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis