New test pinpoints people susceptible to stress

Scientists have revealed that they have found a way to identify those most susceptible to stress, which can prove to be a huge help for healthcare professionals.

Washington: Scientists have revealed that they have found a way to identify those most susceptible to stress, which can prove to be a huge help for healthcare professionals.

Researchers at Concordia University recorded participants' heart rate variability while they were relaxing and while they were thinking about things they tend to worry about most and also tracked participants' moods at a time of low stress early in the semester and at a time of high stress right before exams.

Concordia psychology professor Jean-Philippe Gouin followed 76 university students during periods of lower stress at the beginning of term and higher stress during the exam period and found that, although all students experience similar challenges during finals, only some of them develop significant distress.

The researchers, who recorded participants' heart rate variability while they were relaxing and while they were thinking about things they tend to worry about most and moods at a time of low stress early in the semester and at a time of high stress right before exams, found that those who exhibited a less variable heartbeat when they started worrying were more likely to be highly stressed later on, when faced with finals.

The researchers said that when a person is facing a real threat in their life, a regular heartbeat helps them deal with the situation, if they encounter a lion in the jungle, heartbeat should stay at consistently high levels so that they can run away as fast as its possible. But if the body shows the same reaction when one is worried about something that may or may not happen - like failing an exam - then they might be more susceptible to stress.

The study was published in the journal Stress.  

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