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Health Psychol. 1990;9(6):676-92.

Aerobic fitness, psychological characteristics, and cardiovascular reactivity to stress.

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National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Examined the relations among aerobic fitness (AF), psychological characteristics, and cardiovascular reactivity using 62 men divided into highly fit and less fit groups based on a maximal treadmill exercise test. Several psychological and physiological variables were measured, and subjects' cardiovascular reactivity was assessed during a mental arithmetic task and during a video game task. Highly fit subjects showed a significantly smaller increase in both diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and heart rate (HR) and reported themselves to be less anxious and less angry than less fit subjects. Furthermore, controlling for subjects' scores on a scale assessing angry temperament reduced the relationship between AF and DBP reactivity to nonsignificant levels. These results suggest that degree of dispositional anger, which covaries with increased fitness, may contribute to the apparent relationship between AF and DBP--but not HR--reactivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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