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Health Psychol. 1985;4(3):203-18.

"I can tell when my blood pressure is up, can't I?".


Forty-four insurance company employees were measured on blood pressure, moods, symptoms, and predictions of their blood pressures, twice daily for 10 days. Twenty subjects had elevated blood pressure and 24 did not. The measures were correlated within-subjects to determine if blood pressure predictions were associated with moods, symptoms, or blood pressure readings, and if moods and symptoms were related to blood pressure. Predictions of pressure were expected to be correlated with symptoms and moods, but not with blood pressure. No strong relationship was expected when blood pressure was compared to symptoms or to moods. The data showed that self-predictions of blood pressure were most strongly associated with reported symptoms, next with reported moods, and least with actual blood pressure. A comparison of subjects who were accurate in predicting their blood pressure with those who were not showed no differences in blood pressure levels, systolic blood pressure variation, self-esteem, or private body-consciousness. Subjects' beliefs that they could monitor blood pressure were little influenced by contrary information. The results suggest it would be an error to encourage subjects to believe they can successfully treat blood pressure elevations by monitoring symptoms related to blood pressure change.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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