Journal of Undergraduate Research


heart rate variability, biofeedback, fMRI measures, cognitive functioning, depression


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met The primary objectives of this project was to examine neurological changes in depressed individuals who were randomized to either a psychotherapy plus Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback training or to a treatment as usual group. A control group with no history of depression was also studied. In the past two years, we were able to collect psychological, physiological, and imaging data from 30 participants (10 in an experimental group, 10 in a treatment as usual group, and the other 10 in a healthy control group) at baseline and follow-up. Overall, participants from the experimental group went through 5 weekly HRV trainings in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy approaches. The treatment as usual group only received psychotherapy. The healthy controls did not receive any HRV training or therapy services. Upon finishing data collection, we analyzed the data. Two of our graduate students were able to finish their dissertations using the data from this project. Preliminary data was presented in a conference symposium last year. We are currently planning to submit findings from this study to an academic journal.

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