University of Limerick
OShea_2023_Heart.pdf (740.68 kB)

Heart rate reactivity mediates the relationship between trait gratitude and acute myocardial infarction

Download (740.68 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-12, 07:31 authored by Brian Leahy, Brenda H. O'Connell, DEIRDRE O'SHEADEIRDRE O'SHEA

Objective: This study examines the relationship between trait gratitude and acute myocardial infarction. A burgeoning body of literature suggests that gratitude can play a role in regulating individual’s cardiovascular responses to stress which in turn, may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease such as acute myocardial infarction. However, to date no research has examined these effects. Method: This study used the Mid-Life in the United States dataset (MIDUS; N = 1031) to assess these relationships. Participants completed a standardised cardiovascular stress-testing laboratory protocol and were assessed at a second time-point; on average 6.7 years later. Results: Results from logistic parallel mediation models suggest that trait gratitude was found to be significantly associated with reduced risk of acute myocardial infarction through the mechanism of increased heart rate reactivity, β = − 0.098, 95%CI [− 0.331, − 0.010]. However, neither systolic nor diastolic blood pressure reactivity mediated this relationship. Conclusions: These findings suggest that gratitude may be associated with certain aspects of physical health. Specifically, our study reveals a potential link between gratitude and cardiovascular reactivity, which could be a mechanism through which trait gratitude contributes to reductions in the risk of myocardial infarction. As such, this study highlights the potential utility of positive psychological factors, such as gratitude, in promoting cardiovascular health.



Biological Psychology 183, 108663



Other Funding information

BIAL Foundation National Institute on Aging (NCATS)

Sustainable development goals

  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

Department or School

  • Work and Employment Studies

Usage metrics

    University of Limerick



    Ref. manager