Anger Expression, Harassment, and Evaluation: Cardiovascular Reactivity and Recovery to Mental Stress

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Virginia Tech


Anger and hostility have been attributed as early risk factors of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, many inconsistencies exist in the literature linking both of these constructs to CHD, as well as to cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) to stressors likely to give rise to CHD. A potential moderating influence discussed in the CVR literature concerns the issue of anger provocation, whereas assessment of the ability to evaluate the source of provocation may moderate the recovery process. The current study adopts a multivariate approach to assess the interactive effects of dispositional anger in predicting the CVR and recovery to mental arithmetic (MA) stress with and without harassment in 47 male undergraduate psychology students. Results revealed anger out (AO) to be associated with high vagal and low frequency power suppression in response to the MA task with harassment. Exposure to experimenter evaluation was associated with attenuated diastolic blood pressure recovery and facilitated vagal recovery in high AO subjects, whereas the opposite pattern was apparent for low AO subjects. The general findings suggest that trait anger interacts with situational influences to predict CVR and recovery to stressors.



anger out, harassment, Cardiovascular reactivity, evaluation, cardiovascular recovery