The association between emotional upset and cardiac arrhythmia during daily life

Robert A. Carels, Holly Cacciapaglia, Carlos I. Pérez-Benítez, Olivia Douglass, Samantha Christie, William H. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Ventricular arrhythmia exhibits considerable within-subject variability that cannot be attributed to clinical status alone. This investigation examined the extent to which cardiac arrhythmia was associated with psychological and physical factors assessed during the hour preceding arrhythmic or nonarrhythmic activity. Approximately twice hourly, 46 patients randomly completed a diary assessing mood and physical symptoms during 24-hr electrocardiographic monitoring. Greater negative emotion was associated with increased arrhythmia. Additionally, greater negative emotion was significantly associated with increased arrhythmia among participants in a low left ventricular ejection fraction group (LVEF). However, this relationship between negative emotion and arrhythmia was not observed among higher LVEF participants. These findings contribute to a larger body of evidence suggesting that negative moods may exacerbate cardiac conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-618
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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