Coping and Appraisal of Daily Stressors Predict Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Levels in Young Women

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An anger-provocation paradigm was used to assess the effects of coping processes and appraisal of daily stressors on stress reactivity in 33 normotensive undergraduate women. Participants performed a mental arithmetic and an interpersonal conflict task during the pre- and postmenstrual phases of their menstrual cycles. Increased use of the emotion-focused coping processes of tension reduction and positive reappraisal was correlated with lower levels of baseline heart rate, whereas distancing was associated with higher levels of systolic blood pressure reactivity during the conflict task. Perceiving daily stressors as more stressful was associated with higher baseline diastolic blood pressure levels. The authors concluded that the transactional model of stress is useful for generating hypotheses about factors that predict heart rate and blood pressure levels in women.

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