The field of health psychology has exploded in the last decade due to progress identifying physiological mechanisms by which psychological, social, and behavioral factors can put people's health and well-being at risk. The Handbook of Physiological Research Methods in Health Psychology provides thorough, state-of-the-art, and user-friendly coverage of basic techniques for measurement of physiological variables in health psychology research. It is designed to serve as a primary reference source for researchers and students interested in expanding their research to consider a biopsychosocial approach. Chapters addressing key physiological measures have been written by international experts with an eye towards documenting essential information that must be considered in order to accurately and reliably measure biological samples. The book is not intended to be a lab manual of specific biomedical techniques, nor is it intended to provide extensive physiological or anatomical information. Rather, it takes the approach most useful for a non-specialist who seeks guidance on how and when to collect biological measures but who will have the actual samples assayed elsewhere. The Handbook can be thought of as a primer or a gateway book for researchers new to the area of physiological measurement and for readers who would like to better understand the meaning of physiological measures they encounter in research reports.
Chapter 7: Cardiovascular Stress Reactivity
Cardiovascular Stress Reactivity
Cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) has been defined by Stephen B. Manuck, a seminal theorist in this area, as “an individual's propensity to experience cardiovascular reactions of greater or lesser magnitude, in relation to those of other persons, when encountering behavioral stimuli experienced as engaging, challenging, or aversive” (Manuck, 1994). The reactivity hypothesis, as it now stands (Gerin et al., 2000) proposes that acute blood pressure (BP) elevations occurring during the presentation of stressors lead, over time, to elevation of the tonic BP level, to hypertension, and to atherosclerosis. CVR has also been proposed as a possible mechanism linking behavioral and psychosocial factors such as anger, hostility, Type A personality, lack of social support, and exposure to stress, hypertension, and/or coronary ...