Adolescent girls with emotional disorders have a lower end-tidal CO2 and increased respiratory rate compared with healthy controls.


Hyperventilation has been linked to emotional distress in adults. This study investigates end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2), respiratory rate (RR), and heart rate variability (HRV) in adolescent girls with emotional disorders and healthy controls. ETCO2, RR, HRV, and ratings of emotional symptom severity were collected in adolescent female psychiatric patients with emotional disorders (n = 63) and healthy controls (n = 62). ETCO2 and RR differed significantly between patients and controls. ETCO2, HR, and HRV were significant independent predictors of group status, that is, clinical or healthy, while RR was not. ETCO2 and RR were significantly related to emotional symptom severity and to HRV in the total group. ETCO2 and RR were not affected by use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It is concluded that emotional dysregulation is related to hyperventilation in adolescent girls. Respiratory-based treatments may be relevant to investigate in future research.