The effect of trait self-control on dyspnoea and tolerance to a CO2 rebreathing challenge in healthy males and females

Brown, J.C. ORCID: 0000-0003-2203-6277, Boat, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-4897-8118, Williams, N.C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2607-4572, Johnson, M.A. ORCID: 0000-0002-8226-9438 and Sharpe, G.R. ORCID: 0000-0002-4575-2332, 2022. The effect of trait self-control on dyspnoea and tolerance to a CO2 rebreathing challenge in healthy males and females. Physiology and Behavior, 255: 113944. ISSN 0031-9384

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Background: High trait self-control is associated with greater tolerance of unpleasant sensations including effort and pain. Dyspnoea and pain have several commonalities and this study aimed to investigate for the first time whether trait self-control influences responses to a hypercapnic rebreathing challenge designed to induce dyspnoea. As sex also influences tolerance to dyspnoea, we also sought to investigate whether this moderated the role of trait self-control.

Methods: Participants (n = 65, 32 females) scoring high or low for trait self-control, performed a standardised rebreathing challenge, in which inspired carbon dioxide (CO2) gradually increased over a period of 6 min or until an intolerable level of dyspnoea. Air hunger (AH) intensity – a distinctive quality of dyspnoea, was measured every 30 s. The multidimensional dyspnoea profile (MDP) was completed after the rebreathing challenge for a more complete overview of breathing discomfort.

Results: Males high in trait self-control (SCHIGH) (302 ± 42 s), tolerated the rebreathing challenge for longer than males low in self-control (SCLOW) (252 ± 66 s, P = 0.021), experienced slower increases in AH intensity during the rebreathing challenge (0.03 ± 0.01 cm.s − 1 vs. 0.04 ± 0.01 cm.s − 1, P = 0.045) and reported lower perceived mental effort on the MDP (4.94 ± 2.46 vs. 7.06 ± 1.60, P = 0.007). There was no difference between SCHIGH and SCLOW females for challenge duration. However, SCHIGH females (9.29 ± 0.66 cm) reported greater air hunger at the end of the challenge than SCLOW females (7.75 ± 1.75 cm, P = 0.003). It is possible that SCLOW females were unwilling to tolerate the same perceptual intensity of AH as the SCHIGH females.

Conclusions: These results indicate that individuals high in trait self-control are more tolerant of dyspnoea during a CO2 rebreathing challenge than low self-control individuals. Tolerance of the stimulus was moderated by the sex of the participant, presenting an interesting opportunity for future research.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Physiology and Behavior
Creators: Brown, J.C., Boat, R., Williams, N.C., Johnson, M.A. and Sharpe, G.R.
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Date: 15 October 2022
Volume: 255
ISSN: 0031-9384
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 31 Aug 2022 15:09
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2023 03:00

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