Ten-year stability of cardiovascular responses to laboratory stressors.
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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