An examination of the effect of stress on the human resting heart rate
By Kathryn Hesser, Westwood High School, Junior
This experiment aims to analyze the factors that may affect the resting heart rate. The resting heart is the beats per minute of the heart when a person is calm and at rest.
One factor that may affect the resting heart rate is stress. Stress can be broadly defined by the strain felt by a person mentally, physically, and/or emotionally. In 1967, scientists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe studied the effects of stress on over 5,000 people through a survey that asked the subjects whether or not the subject experienced 47 life events. Each event had a certain ...view middle of the document...
Ask test subjects if they know the procedure of taking a heart rate. Teach those that do not the procedure.
Using the stop watch, have test subjects sit and rest for at least one minute as a group.
Using the stop watch, have test subjects take their resting heart rate for one minute as a group.
Have the test subjects record their heart rate on the specified line at the bottom of the survey.
Collect survey from the test subjects.
Using the Stress Level Survey Key, tally each survey’s answers to determine the stress level of the subject that completed the survey.
Resting Heart Rate
Only high school freshmen were used as test subjects. Other grade levels; and therefore, age ranges, may have a broader range of experiences that contribute to higher or lower stress levels. Although the experiences of the test subjects can not be controlled, the more limited age range aids in controlling the number of experiences the test subjects encountered.
All resting heart rates were taken after at least one minute of sitting at rest and were for one minute in duration. This consistency limited the amount of error when taking the resting heart rate. Action before the heart rate was taken would create error in the results. Taking heart rate for more than or less than one minute would also create error in the results.
All test subjects received identical surveys with identical instructions and questions. The point values of the survey questions are identical for all surveys as well. Different instructions, questions, and point values would create error in the results.
The test subjects used the same stop watch to avoid error in timing.
The experimenter was present and disallowed talking while the survey was filled out by the test subjects. Social-desirability bias was avoided by the prohibition of talking and interacting with peers.
A table to show the stress level of 20 test subjects and their resting heart rates.
The stress level and resting heart rate for test subjects |
Test Subject | Stress Level | Resting Heart Rate(beats per minute) |
1 | 153 | 66 |
2 | 477 | 77 |
3 | 388 | 64 |
4 | 307 | 81 |
5 | 171 | 72 |
6 | 322 | 80 |
7 | 446 | 72 |
8 | 157 | 81 |
9 | 106 | 75 |
10 | 192 | 72 |
11 | 72 | 60 |
12 | 208 | 86 |
13 | 187 | 64 |
14 | 374 | 73 |
15 | 175 | 63 |
16 | 200 | 61 |
17 | 290 | 77 |
18 | 282 | 90 |
19 | 189 | 80 |
20 | 206 | 61 |
Errors and uncertainties:
Resting Heart Rate accurate to + or – 2 bpm (limit of accuracy of the human touch)
A table to show the means of the stress level and resting heart rate of each test subject and the...