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The effects of traveling in different transport modes on Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) as a measure of stress: an observational study

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Title: The effects of traveling in different transport modes on Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) as a measure of stress: an observational study
Authors: Yang, X
McCoy, E
Anaya-Boig, E
Avila-Palencia, I
Brand, C
Carrasco-Turigas, G
Dons, E
Gerike, R
Goetschi, T
Nieuwenhuijsen, M
Orjuela, JP
Int Panis, L
Standaert, A
De Nazelle, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background Stress is one of many ailments associated with urban living, with daily travel a potential major source. Active travel, nevertheless, has been associated with lower levels of stress compared to other modes. Earlier work has relied on self-reported measures of stress, and on study designs that limit our ability to establish causation. Objectives To evaluate effects of daily travel in different modes on an objective proxy measure of stress, the galvanic skin response (GSR). Methods We collected data from 122 participants across 3 European cities as part of the Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) study, including: GSR measured every minute alongside confounders (physical activity, near-body temperature) during three separate weeks covering 3 seasons; sociodemographic and travel information through questionnaires. Causal relationships between travel in different modes (the “treatment”) and stress were established by using a propensity score matching (PSM) approach to adjust for potential confounding and estimating linear mixed models (LMM) with individuals as random effects to account for repeated measurements. In three separate analyses, we compared GSR while cycling to not cycling, then walking to not walking then motorized (public or private) travel to any activity other than motorized travel. Results Depending on LMM formulations used, cycling reduces 1-minute GSR by 5.7% [95% CI: 2.0–16.9%] to 11.1% [95% CI: 5.0–24.4%] compared to any other activity. Repeating the analysis for other modes we find that: walking is also beneficial, reducing GSR by 3.9% [95% CI: 1.4–10.7%] to 5.7% [95% CI: 2.6–12.3%] compared to any other activity; motorized mode (private or public) in reverse increases GSR by up to 1.1% [95% CI: 0.5–2.9%]. Discussion Active travel offers a welcome way to reduce stress in urban dwellers’ daily lives. Stress can be added to the growing number of evidence-based reasons for promoting active travel in cities.
Issue Date: Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance: 5-Jul-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/90783
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106764
ISSN: 0160-4120
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 1
End Page: 10
Journal / Book Title: Environment International
Volume: 156
Copyright Statement: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Sponsor/Funder: Commission of the European Communities
Funder's Grant Number: 602624
Keywords: Active travel
Stress reduction
Environmental Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2021-07-14
Appears in Collections:Mathematics
Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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