Date of Graduation
Research has suggested that cardiovascular reactivity to stress may be a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disorders (Manuck, 1994). Offspring of hypertensives have been hypothesized to be at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disorders through these exaggerated cardiovascular responses to stress, and therefore have been the focus of much research. Little empirical attention has been paid to the relation between other overt (e.g., verbal behavior) or covert (e.g., self-reported anger) responses exhibited during the laboratory session and family history status or cardiovascular reactivity to stress. The purpose of this investigation was to examine differences in overt and covert responses to stress among males and females with and without a family history of hypertension. This study examined whether offspring of hypertensives responded differently than offspring of normotensives with regard to cardiovascular, affective, and behavioral responses to laboratory stress of both an interpersonal and non-interpersonal nature. Sixty-four healthy undergraduates, 16 males with a family history of hypertension (FH+), 16 males without a family history of hypertension (FHâˆ’), 16 FH+ females, and 16 FHâˆ’ females participated in a mental arithmetic task, a mirror tracing task, and two interpersonal roleplays, one with a male and one with a female confederate. Consistent with hypotheses, FH+ participants, both males and females, exhibited greater systolic blood pressure responses to the tasks, and engaged in more negative verbal and negative nonverbal behavior across tasks than their FH-counterparts. Differences in behavioral responding, however, did not mediate nor moderate the observed relation between family history status and systolic blood pressure responsivity.
Frazer, Nicole Lynn, "The relation between cardiovascular reactivity to stress and family history of hypertension: Examination of overt and covert responses to stressors." (1998). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8870.