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Exploring the associations between executive functioning, heart rate variability and work-related rumination.

Chelidoni, Olga (2020) Exploring the associations between executive functioning, heart rate variability and work-related rumination. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Executive functions are cognitive abilities that allow people to focus their attention on a specific task, redirect and shift their attention between tasks, block the intrusion of irrelevant thoughts, and update information in memory. Executive functions are also central for planning and directing behaviour towards the achievement of a goal. Although difficulties in executive functions are commonly presented in ruminative thinking, research investigating the role of executive functions in work-related rumination is scarce. One of the aims of this thesis was to examine the prevalence of executive function difficulties, as reflected in daily life, in the different facets of work-related rumination. Another objective of this thesis was to investigate the association between Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and work-related rumination. HRV is an index of cardiovascular health and reflects the individual’s ability to recover from stressful situations, but very minimal research has investigated their association so far. Four studies were conducted in total. In Study 1, results from a cross-sectional study (N=334) showed that daily life executive functioning difficulties in time-management and concentration were significantly associated with affective rumination and detachment. It was also revealed that emotion regulation partially mediates this association. In Study 2, results from six-month longitudinal study design (N=106) showed that executive function difficulty in time-management at baseline predicted psychological detachment from work six months later. Findings also showed that executive function difficulties and work-related rumination consistently covaried during the six months. Study 3 reports the results of a feasibility study (N=17) to support the methods used in Study 4. Study 4 reported the results from a randomised controlled study (N=75) and showed that five minutes of instructed biofeedback breathing-delivered through a smartphone app.-enhances recovery in HRV following stress exposure. Overall, findings reported in this thesis suggest that cognitive and emotional difficulties are critical features of work-related rumination, and the development of mobile-based interventions incorporating biofeedback can be beneficial for employee physiological recovery from stress.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Chelidoni, Olga
Date : 30 June 2020
Funders : Partial funding from external collaborator
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00858016
Contributors :
Depositing User : Olga Chelidoni
Date Deposited : 09 Jul 2020 15:15
Last Modified : 09 Jul 2020 15:15

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