Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mary Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP/CL

Second Advisor

Kenneth Logan, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Mike Vogel, Psy.D.


Physiological linkage, the degree to which physiological behavior of one partner in a relationship is related to the physiological behavior of the other partner, is a well-documented process. Electrodermal activity (EDA) and heart rate variability (HRV) are two physiological measures for which physiological linkage has been observed (Timmons, et al., 2015). A more specific term, coregulation, has been proposed to specify a process of mutual physiological regulation within a relational dyad towards a homeostatic set point (Butler & Randall, 2013). While an important construct, there is a present lack of intervention studies seeking to increase the capacity for coregulation in relational dyads. Furthermore, there has been a recent massive increase in video call technologies, in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, this author conducted an intervention study over video call that sought to observe if: a) physiological linkage occurs between relational dyads interfacing via video call and b) the relational capacity for coregulation can be increased over time via a relational play intervention carried out over three weeks on video call. Results showed partial support for hypothesis one, partnered participants’ HRV was significantly correlated at baseline and during the stress-inducing exercise, regardless of group assignment. Results supported the null hypothesis for hypothesis two, demonstrating that the intervention dyads did not exhibit a higher degree of coregulation during posttest compared to the control dyads. However, all dyads demonstrated a return to homeostatic baseline after a stressor at both pretest and posttest, suggesting that relational dyads can effectively coregulate in response to a stressor while interacting over video call. Implications will be discussed below.

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Psychology Commons