Author(s): Ruiz JM, Uchino BN, Smith TW
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Abstract Recent models hypothesize that hostility confers increased risk of CHD through weaker parasympathetic dampening of cardiovascular reactivity (CVR). We tested this possibility using the forehead cold pressor task, a common maneuver which elicits the "dive reflex" characterized by a reflexive decrease in HR presumably through cardiac-parasympathetic stimulation. Participants were initially chosen from the outer quartiles of a sample of 670 undergraduates screened using the hostility subscale of the Aggression Questionnaire ([Buss, A.H., Perry, M., 1992. The Aggression Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 452-459.]). The final sample of 80 participants was evenly divided between men and women and high and low hostility. Following a 10-min baseline, participants underwent a 3-min forehead cold pressor task. The task evoked a significant HR deceleration that was mediated by PNS activation, as assessed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). Replicating prior research, men displayed greater decrease in HR. More important, low hostiles maintained larger HR deceleration over time compared to high hostiles although the autonomic basis for this effect was unclear. The findings broaden understanding of hostility and sex-related cardiovascular functioning and support the task as a method for evoking PNS-cardiac stimulation.
This article was published in Int J Psychophysiol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals