Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tracey

Advisor Role

MSc Supervisor


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV BFB), a form of psychophysiological skills intervention, to improve athletes’ psychological response following an injury. Further, to examine the effects of HRV BFB on self-efficacy, perceived stress and anxiety, pain management, and the psychological responses of injured athletes. HRV BFB effects on athletes’ physiological indices including HRV, HR, and respiration rate were also assessed. Participants were 32 athletes who had sustained a moderate to severe musculoskeletal sports injury, ranging in age from 18 to 36 years (Mage = 20.82, SD = 3.41). All participants were out of training and competition and engaged in a rehabilitation program. This investigation was experimental in nature with a randomized, single-blinded study design. Participants were randomized into one of three groups: HRV BFB Experimental group, HRV BFB Placebo group, or Control group. Assessments of psychological outcomes and physiological indices were assessed at Baseline, Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. Compared with the participants in either the Placebo or Control groups, participants who received the HRV BFB intervention reported significantly greater reductions in psychological responses of devastation, reorganization, and isolation, (b) significantly greater declines in magnification regarding pain, (c) significantly greater improvements in LF HRV during rest, and (d) significantly greater declines in resting respiration rate. The findings suggest that HRV BFB may hold potential to improve athletes’ psychological response after sustaining an injury and that it shows promise as a useful psychological skills intervention for injury rehabilitation.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Kinesiology Commons