Effortful control and resiliency exhibit different patterns of cardiac autonomic control

Derek P. Spangler, Bruce H. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Effortful control (EC) and ego-resiliency (often shortened to resiliency) may similarly encode adaptability to stress. Differentiation of these traits in terms of autonomic control may highlight each construct's relative mechanisms in stress regulation. In the current study, 84 subjects self-reported levels of EC and resiliency and then were exposed to 3 mental stressors (mental arithmetic, speech preparation, verbal fluency), during which heart rate variability (HRV) was assessed to index cardiac vagal influences. Interbeat intervals (IBIs) were also collected, while pre-ejection period (PEP) and left ventricular ejection time (LVET) were assessed as sympathetic indices. Multiple regression was used to explore the extent to which autonomic control was moderated by each EC and resiliency. Results indicate that EC was related to concordance between IBI and HRV, along with negative emotion. Resiliency was more associated with coherence between IBI and PEP, and with positive emotion. Findings suggest that regulatory processes play a role in EC's adaptability to stress, while resiliency may involve approach motivation in stress control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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