Effectiveness of Short-Term Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Training and the Risk of Internet Addiction in Adolescents 15-16 Years of Age

Liliya V. Poskotinova, Olga V. Krivonogova, Oleg S. Zaborsky

International Journal of Biomedicine. 2020;10(2):153-156.
DOI: 10.21103/Article10(2)_OA13
Originally published June 15, 2020.


Background: Adolescents with an Internet overuse problem and risk of Internet addiction (IA) have a disturbed autonomic nervous system balance. The aim of the study was to determine the effectiveness of short-term heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) training to increase the total power (TP) of HRV spectrum in adolescents 15-16 years of age with different risks of IA development.
Materials and Results: The study involved 20 healthy youths (15-16 years of age) of Arkhangelsk secondary school. The survey was conducted using the Chen Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS) in the Russian version of Malygin et al.(2011).
SBP (systolic blood pressure), DBP (diastolic blood pressure) and HRV indicators (HR, TP of the HRV spectrum, and SI) were recorded in relaxation (3 min) and during the HRV-BF training session (3 min). According to the CIAS score, 2 groups were identified: Group 1 (n=9) with minimal IA risk (CIAS score <47) and Group 2 (n=11) with significant IA risk (CIAS score ≥47 points). Group 1, after HRV-BF training, showed a significant increase in TP compared to the initial value, on average by 2.3 times (P=0.036). At the same time, SI decreased significantly (P=0.025). In Group 2, after HRV-BF training we did not find significant change in TP and SI, compared to the initial data. Moreover, HR became statistically higher (P=0.021). TP level after HRV-BF training in Group I was significantly higher than in Group 2 (P=0.043). SBP and DBP did not statistically change during the training in both groups. Correlation analysis performed on the total sample (n=20) revealed a significant negative correlation between high TP levels during HRV-BF training and low CIAS scores on the Wit-scale (rS =-0.46, P=0.048).
Conclusion: A significant risk of IA developing in puberty may be accompanied by a decrease in the autonomic nervous reactivity during the HRV-BF session. The greatest influence on reduction of HRV-BF efficiency during short-term training has withdrawal symptoms associated with excessive Internet use.

Internet addiction • adolescents • heart rate variability biofeedback
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Received April 22, 2020.
Accepted May 22, 2020.
©2020 International Medical Research and Development Corporation.