Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Shoemaker, J. Kevin


The National College Health Assessment (NCHA) indicates that a majority of Canadian university students report feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious during their undergraduate studies. Resilience refers to positive adaptation, or the ability to maintain or regain mental health, despite experiencing adversity (Herrman et al., 2011). While autonomic indices have been used to describe chronic physiological stress, the role of heart rate variability (HRV) as an index of resilience remains unclear. This research tested the hypotheses that (1) there is a relationship between HRV and resilience scoresand (2) a mentorship intervention will improve HRV and resilience outcomes. Fifty-seven first year students participated in a full year Kinesiology course (4444E/3333Y) and were paired with upper year mentors, alongside twelve controls. Twice during the academic year, sleeping HRV was measured using Firstbeat Bodyguard 2 device and resilience and other indices of mental health were assessed using online questionnaires. Regression analysis established the relationship between HRV and resilience scores at baseline (r=0.30, p