Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Timothy Schoenfeld

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Stress and anticipation are some of the most commonly talked about topics in the current age of self-help and wellness. Anticipatory stress has been found to aid in autonomic regulation and stress relief (Nasso et al., 2018). What’s more, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been previously associated with a blunted response to stress, but the mechanisms have not been investigated. The primary aim of this study was to identify if the anticipation of a stressor significantly influenced an individual’s autonomic response. Additionally, it sought to identify any correlation between childhood trauma and individuals’ stress response. Participants were comprised of undergraduate students at Belmont University. Heart rate was measured using an ECG through a BIOPAC system. ACE scores were collected through an ACE survey administered through Qualtrics in which students could answer “yes” or “no” to given questions. The expected results indicate that the presence of a stressful event may not influence an individual's stress response. Further, the presence of a stressful event may not correlate with autonomic regulation time. These findings are inconsistent with the results gathered in previous studies. However, the results may aid in future research concerning anticipatory stress, autonomic regulation, and ACEs.



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