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Psychophysiology. 2009 Jul;46(4):862-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00829.x. Epub 2009 May 12.

Positive affect is associated with cardiovascular reactivity, norepinephrine level, and morning rise in salivary cortisol.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA. brummett@duke.edu


Positive affect was examined as a predictor of (1) cardiovascular reactivity during a sadness and an anger recall task and recovery following the protocol, (2) epinephrine (EPI) and norepinephrine (NOREPI) reactivity and level during the recall protocol, and (3) the diurnal pattern of salivary cortisol. Sample was 328 individuals. Negative affect, age, race, sex, smoking status, income, and BMI were adjusted. During sadness recall, positive affect was inversely related to systolic blood pressure (p=.007) and diastolic blood pressure (p=.049) reactivity, and unrelated to heart rate (p=.226). Positive affect was unrelated to reactivity during anger recall (ps>.19), and was unrelated to recovery at the end of the recall protocol. Positive affect was inversely related to the mean level of NOREPI (p=.046), and unrelated to EPI (p=.149). Positive affect was inversely related to the increase in cortisol 30 min post awakening (p=.042), and unrelated to the evening decline in cortisol levels (p=.174). Positive emotions may be relevant to good health.

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