Literature study to the heart rate variability

Project No. BGAG 490000


completed 03/2009


The aim of the present study was to meet statements regarding the suitability of the heart rate variability (HRV) as a measure of psychological strain as well as to methodical problems with the measurement of the HRV.


A literature survey was conducted in order to document the current progress of applied research. Six specialist medical and psychological databases were consulted for the purpose of analysis. The freely available Google Internet search engine was also used to search for information under the search terms "heart rate variability" and the corresponding German term "Herzfrequenzvariabilität".


The conclusion drawn from the results of the specialist articles consulted was that HRV constitutes a component which can certainly be incorporated intelligently into measurement of the (adverse) mental strain. However, it would appear to be unsuitable as a sole measure of (adverse) mental strain in a given situation, at least until more precise research results are available.

Last Update:

11 Mar 2010


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e.V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • BGAG - Institut Arbeit und Gesundheit der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

mental stress factors


Analyseverfahren, Psychische Beanspruchung/Belastung, Stress

Description, key words:

heart rate variability (HRV) as a measure of psychological strain