Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Stuart Hall

Committee Co-chair

John Quindry

Commitee Members

Nathan Insel, Rachel Severson, Allen Szalda-Petree


aging, cognitive performance, executive function, heart rate variability, Midlife in the United States


University of Montana


Using data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Longitudinal Study of Health and Well-Being, this study examined high frequency heart rate variability as a longitudinal predictor of cognitive change in key executive function domains: inhibition, shifting, and updating. This study further explored the interactions between HF HRV and important health factors (inflammation, stress, sleep, and mood and anxiety) in predicting executive function decline.

The results of this investigation demonstrated that while high frequency heart rate variability and inhibition decline were correlated, HF HRV was not a significant predictor of decline in any executive function. However, results did show an interaction effect between HF HRV and depression in predicting inhibition and shifting declines in mid-life adults. Further, main effects of sleep quality and anxiety on inhibition and shifting declines were identified. Implications of these findings as well as limitations and future research directions are discussed.



© Copyright 2021 Cali Anne Caughie