Research Output

Ambulatory physiological assessment: an ergonomic approach to the dynamic work environment and temporal variability in heart rate variability, blood pressure and the cortisol awakening response

  Aim: The aim of this thesis was to investigate the psychophysiological response to the dynamic working environment within a cohort of higher education employees via ambulatory assessment of psychosocial and physiological measures.
Methods: Data was collected from two observational studies. Study one employed a cross-sectional design to investigate relationships between work-related psychosocial hazard, work-time heart rate variability, blood pressure, and the cortisol awakening response. Consideration was given to occupation type and acute work-related demand. Study two, a single-subject case study, employed an experience sampling methodology to peform a 24 hour assessment over 21 days. Workload, affect and demand were sampled during working hours, while heart rate variability and physical activity were continually sampled (24 hours), with salivary cortisol, being sampled at 3 time points during the awakening period. This study also investigated some of the methodological issues associated with ambulatory assessment of both heart rate variability and the cortisol awakening response.
Findings: Chronic work-related demand was found to be positively associated with sympathetic dominance of the autonomic nervous system. Acute work-related demand was associated with ambulatory heart rate variability during work time and evening time whilst the rise in salivary free cortisol over the immediate post awakening period varies according to acute anticipatory demand and prior day’s workload. Substantial intra--individual variation in both the cortisol awakening response and ambulatory heart variability was found to occur across work-days. Work time activity levels accounted for little of the variation in ambulatory heart rate variability and blood pressure. The cortisol awakening response was associated with both heart rate variability and nocturnal movement in the latter stage of sleep.
Conclusion: Attending to the psychophysiological response to work at the individual level by means of ambulatory assessment appears to provide a useful means of assessing the balance between employee and environment. This could have significant implications for work design, employee selection and targeting of workplace interventions.

  • Type:

    Thesis

  • Date:

    31 October 2014

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • Library of Congress:

    RC1200 Sports Medicine

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    613 Personal health & safety

Citation

Campbell, T. G. (2014). Ambulatory physiological assessment: an ergonomic approach to the dynamic work environment and temporal variability in heart rate variability, blood pressure and the cortisol awakening response. (Thesis)

Authors

Keywords

Work environment, employee stress, physiological response,

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