The state of vegetative regulatory systems of pupils with different academic performance
The transition to primary school requires pupils to adapt to new conditions of the educational environment, accompanied by the use of physiological reserves of the body. School stress can hinder the academic success of children and adolescents, creative solutions to complex and new problems, which, in turn, can lead to underestimation of abilities and underestimation of pupils self-esteem. Chronic exposure to academic stress can lead to school burnout and the formation of psychosomatic disorders. The aim of the study was to compare the functional state of autonomic regulatory systems among pupils with different levels of academic achievement. 60 children (10-13 years old) took part in the longitudinal study. The functional state of the autonomic regulatory systems was determined by analyzing 5-minute recordings of the electrocardiogram in a state of quiet wakefulness with eyes closed in a sitting position. Pupils were divided into 3 groups depending on the level of their academic performance, which was determined by the average score of 8 basic subjects. Statistical data processing was performed using the Mann-Whitney, Kraskell-Wallis, Dunnett, Fisher’s φ-test. Significant differences in heart rate variability (HRV) parameters depending on the level of academic achievement were found only in the 5th and 6th years of study, which reflected the different physiological cost of adaptation to primary school. The vegetative profile of pupils with academic performance lower than the average in the 5th year of study indicated overstrain of regulatory systems and fatigue. Among pupils with academic performance higher than the average in the 6th year of study 2.4 times more often than pupils with average academic performance, the optimal state of autonomic regulatory systems was observed (respectively, 46.2% and 19.1%, p≤0,05), and in the 7th year of study – 2.5 times compared to pupils with academic performance below average (respectively, 46.2% and 18.2%, p≤0.05), which may indicate a higher physiological price for adaptation to primary school pupils with academic performance below average. Fatigue and overexertion of the mechanisms of autonomic regulation are characteristic of pupils with academic performance below average, while pupils with academic performance above average had a high level of stress adaptive-compensatory mechanisms in the 6th year of study. The category of pupils with a level of academic performance below average should be assigned to the risk group in terms of the development of autonomic dysfunction and psychosomatic diseases.
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