Stress, Coping, and Cardiovascular Disease

By Philip M. McCabe; Neil Schneiderman et al. | Go to book overview

ship, however, because it is not known how well the findings will generalize to various subpopulations (e.g., African Americans) nor the boundary ages for successful testing and retesting.

The generality of the cardiovascular reactivity-hypertension risk factor relationship is presently unknown, but thus far tasks as diverse as reaction time, serial subtraction, mirror image tracing, and competitive video games have successfully been used as reactivity stressors that predict subsequent increases in blood pressure level ( Borghi et al., 1986; Light et al., 1992; Matthews et al., 1993; Murphy et al., 1992). These studies further indicate that the relationship between reactivity and subsequent blood pressure level are observable in response to challenge by children ( Murphy et al., 1992), young adults ( Light et al., 1992), and mature middle-aged individuals ( Matthews et al., 1993). In view of the successful and promising research that has been carried out thus far, studies that can establish the generality of the reactivity-hypertension association and establish boundary conditions should be vigorously encouraged.

One of the major strengths of laboratory research investigating the reactivity-hypertension relationship is that it can focus on the determinants of blood pressure reactivity rather than measuring blood pressure alone. Thus, although early studies of the reactivity-hypertension relationship focused on the recurrent activation and prevailing state models ( Manuck & Krantz, 1986), more recent models have tended to look at the determinants of the blood pressure baseline as well as the determinants of the blood pressure response to challenge ( Peckerman et al., 1994). In addition, laboratory-stress protocols have shown themselves to be amenable to studies relating cardiovascular reactivity to variables, such as changes in left ventricular hypertrophy ( Treiber et al., 1993), which can further elucidate reactivityhypertension relationships. In summary, the laboratory stress paradigm has begun to provide evidence of an association between reactivity and subsequent hypertension and has also begun to provide insight into the processes underlying the relationship.


REFERENCES

Anderson N. B., Lane J. D., Muranaka M., Williams R. B., & Houseworth S. J. ( 1988). "Racial differences in blood pressure and forearm vascular responses to the cold face stimulus". Psychosomatic Medicine, 50, 57-63.

Anderson N. B., Lane J. D., Taguchi F., & Williams R. B. ( 1989). "Patterns of cardiovascular responses to stress as a function of race and parental hypertension in men". Health Psychology, 8, 525-540.

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