Objective: Flexibility of the autonomic nervous system is particularly important for adaptive stress responses and may contribute to individual differences in resilience. Power spectrum analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) allows measurement of the ratio of high frequency (HF) to low frequency (LF) components of HRV, thus exposing the autonomic flexibility of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. We investigated HRV LF/HF as a broad index of stress resilience. Method: Twenty-four male members of the Army National Guard Special Forces completed psychological measures related to facets of resilience, including stress vulnerability, general resilience to traumatic events, and attachment security. HRV was measured while they underwent virtual reality scenarios designed to induce varying stress responses. Results: During periods of rest, weak negative correlations were found between HRV LF/HF and general resilience to traumatic events. Following exposure to brief stressors, negative correlations were found between HRV LF/HF and stress vulnerability, attachment avoidance, and attachment...

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