Ten-year stability of cardiovascular responses to laboratory stressors.
ABSTRACT In this study, we examined test-retest stability of cardiovascular stress responses over a decade of the life span. Participants were 55 male college undergraduates, 19 years of age at initial testing, and 29 years of age at follow-up testing. Stressors were a foot cold pressor and an aversive reaction time task. Cardiovascular measures included systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and preejection period. For cold pressor, the magnitude and pattern of cardiovascular responses remained unchanged at the 10-year follow-up. For the reaction time task, the characteristic cardiovascular response patterns was preserved but with significant attenuation of magnitude. The present findings are consistent with previous observations of temporal stability but over a substantially longer test-retest interval. The long-term stability of stress responses is discussed in the context of stress test methodology, behavioral response demands, and maturation of the physiological systems involved in cardiovascular response expression.
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ABSTRACT: We report long-term temporal consistency of stress-related neuroendocrine and cardiovascular variables in mid-aged and older women who performed mental math and speech stress tasks two times approximately 1 year apart. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, ACTH, cortisol, cardiac preejection period (PEP), respiratory sinus arrhythmia, heart rate (HR), blood pressure, and respiration rate were measured at baseline, after or during stressors, and 30 min posttask. Although there were exceptions, year-to-year Spearman coefficients showed mostly moderate to high consistency (rs approximately equal to .5-.8) for baseline, stressor, and posttask values. For reactivity, HR and PEP were most consistent (rs approximately equal to .65); consistency for other variables was moderate to low (rs approximately equal to .1-.4). Means of most variables changed from year to year. Results support the use of baseline, stressor, and posttask values in longitudinal studies.Psychophysiology 06/2003; 40(3):358-69. DOI:10.1111/1469-8986.00039
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ABSTRACT: The impact of marital distress on cardiovascular responses to an "ecologically valid" laboratory stressor (a marital conflict recall task) was examined in maritally distressed and non-distressed women. It was hypothesized that the presence of high levels of marital distress would be associated with elevated blood pressure and heart rate responses to a marital conflict task. Fifty married, employed women, aged 25-45, were recruited into high and low marital distress groups, based on total scores on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Subjects participated in three laboratory stress tasks: a marital conflict recall task, a work conflict recall task, and a serial subtraction task. During the marital conflict recall task, women characterized as high in marital distress exhibited higher systolic blood pressure (M = 21.4 +/- 9.1 vs. 17.3 +/- 7.7) (p < .05) and heart rate (M = 13.6 +/- 9.5 vs. 10.9 +/- 6.5) (p < .01) responses, compared with low-distress women. However, the association between marital distress and cardiovascular response was statistically significant only after aggregate responses to the control stressors were used as covariates. These data indicate that the stress associated with recalling a marital conflict was manifest in elevated blood pressure and heart rate, particularly among women characterized as experiencing high levels of distress in their marriage. Future research is needed to determine whether the blood pressure differences between women who are satisfied with their marriage, versus those that are chronically distressed are clinically meaningful. In addition, examination of the "ecological validity" of laboratory stressors suggests that a useful methodology may be to assess task responses, while controlling for nonspecific individual differences in cardiovascular reactivity.Psychosomatic Medicine 01/1998; 60(5):639-43. DOI:10.1097/00006842-199809000-00022