Self-esteem and autonomic physiology: Parallels between self-esteem and cardiac vagal tone as buffers of threat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article a potential physiological connection to self-esteem is suggested: cardiac vagal tone, the degree of influence on the heart by the vagus, a primary nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system. This hypothesis emerges from parallels between the two literatures that suggest both self-esteem and cardiac vagal tone function to provide protection from threat responding. This article reviews these literatures and evidence and preliminary findings that suggest in some contexts self-esteem and cardiac vagal tone may exert an influence on each other. Last, the article discusses theoretical and applied health implications of this potential physiological connection to self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-389
Number of pages20
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Heart rate variability
  • Parasympathetic system
  • Self-esteem
  • Vagal control
  • Vagal tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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