Heart Rate Variability Assessment of Land Navigation and Load Carriage Activities in Specialist Police Selection

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Abstract

Police tactical group (PTG) personnel are exposed to physical, mental, and emotional stressors. Consequently, PTG selection courses (SCs) impart similar challenges, often resulting in candidate attrition. Holistic assessment may provide additional support to stakeholders given these risks. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is an objective holistic stress measure that may be applicable in PTG SCs but has not been thoroughly researched. Therefore, this study aimed to report HRV data in an end-user accessible format and determine the relationship between HRV and attrition. A total of 18 qualified Australian State law enforcement officers completed a 1-day physical readiness assessment. Of those, six males progressed to an additional two-day course, on which this study is focused. This two-day selection consisted of additional physical challenges and occupational assessments. HRV was obtained from 2-lead ECGs and defined as the percentage of R-R intervals that varied by ≥50 ms (pRR50). Data were summarized in a heat map of consecutive short-term analyses. Three candidates withdrew. A logistic regression based on heat map data found high HRV was significant for predicting attrition, χ 2 (6) = 8.318, p = 0.004. HRV may provide insight for PTG stakeholders monitoring attrition. While the sample size was limited and replication is needed, this study tentatively establishes value for HRV monitoring in PTG SCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2677
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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