The Influence of Anxiety on Accuracy of Heart Rate Estimations

Karen S. Butler, Ronald M. Rapee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Twenty-eight non-clinical subjects, scoring either high or low on a variety of anxiety measures, were asked to match their perceived heart rate to a series of tones produced by a metronomal device, both at rest and during a period of mild exercise. Actual heart rate was measured concurrently with an electrocardiogram. No differences were found between groups in the accuracy with which they were able to monitor their heart rates and, in fact, all subjects markedly underestimated their heart rate. Also, no significant correlations were found between heart rate awareness and any of the measures of anxiety, except for a negative relationship between awareness and scores on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index. Theories of anxiety, and methodological considerations, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalBehaviour Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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