College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Cardiovascular responsivity to stress in adolescents with and without persistently elevated blood pressure

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2001

Keywords

hypertension, adolescents, cardiovascular reactivity, behavioural stressors

Publication Title

Journal of Hypertension

ISSN

0263-6352

Volume

19

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

Objectives: The goal of this study was to compare the cardiovascular responses to behavioural stressors of three groups of adolescents who differed in blood pressure status across assessments.

Design: Casual blood pressure of adolescents who were identified as having elevated blood pressure during a school screen was re-evaluated in the laboratory. The adolescents were classified into two groups: (i) those with consistently elevated blood pressure across school and laboratory assessments and (i) those with labile blood pressure whose blood pressure in the laboratory was below 130/80 mmHg. A comparison group of adolescents with consistently normal blood pressure was also included.

Methods: Cardiovascular parameters were assessed during rest and during two behavioural stressors, the evaluated speaking task and the mirror tracing task.

Results: Adolescents with elevated blood pressure were more vascularly responsive across stressors than adolescents with labile blood pressure, who, in turn, were more reactive than adolescents with normal blood pressure.

Conclusions: These results suggest that vascular reactivity to behavioural stressors may be useful in predicting risk of hypertension because of its sensitivity in distinguishing adolescents with consistently elevated blood pressure from those with labile blood pressure and those with normal blood pressure.

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