Defensive Coping in Relation to Casual Blood Pressure and Self-Reported Daily Hassles and Life Events

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Abstract

Our aim was to investigate the relationships between defensiveness and repression, on the one hand, and self-reported stressor exposure and resting blood pressure, on the other hand. In addition, different operationalizations of defensiveness and repression were compared. Participants were 310 male and 90 female employees representing a wide range of occupations. Before a medical examination, all subjects completed questionnaires measuring defensiveness, anxiety, repression, daily hassles, and life events. After controlling for potentially confounding variables, multiple regression analyses revealed an inverse association between defensiveness and self-reported number of daily hassles and a positive link between defensiveness and resting systolic blood pressure. In general, the interaction between defensiveness and anxiety (representing repression) did not add to the predictive power of defensiveness and anxiety alone. The results support the notion that defensive individuals tend to underreport problems, while exhibiting elevated resting blood pressures.

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