The Effect of Cardiovascular Reactivity and Negative Affect On The Responsibility Attributions of Hostile Men to Provocative Partner Behavior
Cosenzo, Keryl Ann
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This study investigated the roles of negative affect and cardiovascular reactivity on the attributional responding of hostile males. College males were screened with the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (Cook & Medley, 1954). High and low hostile males were assigned to an arousal inducing (serial subtraction by 7's) or a non-arousal inducing condition (serial subtraction by 1's). Cardiovascular reactivity and self-report of affect were measured to the serial subtraction task. After the task was completed, the participant listened to a vignette (provocative or neutral) which depicted an interpersonal situation. The participant answered questions about the scene to assess attributional responding. The arousal-inducing condition was associated with significantly greater changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate and a higher level of self-reported negative affect than the non-arousal inducing condition. More negative attributions were reported for provocative than neutral scenes. Males in the arousal inducing condition made more negative attributions to neutral scenes than males in the non-arousal condition. There was no significant effect of arousal condition on the negative attributions to provocative scenes. Hostility did not influence the relationship between arousal condition and self-reported affect or arousal condition and attributional responding. This study showed that inducing cardiovascular reactivity prior to a neutral encounter with a partner can affect the males' perception of the potentially neutral encounter.
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