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J Psychosom Res. 1990;34(4):461-71.

The relationship between repressive and defensive coping styles and blood pressure responses in healthy, middle-aged men and women.

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Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1583.


The current study explored the relationship between repressive coping and blood pressure responses at rest and during a mental challenge. One hundred and twenty healthy, middle-aged men and women completed anxiety and defensiveness measures. Subjects scoring below the median on anxiety and above the median on defensiveness were categorized as repressors; those below the median on both measures as low-anxious; those above the median on anxiety and below the median on defensiveness as moderately anxious; and those above the median on both measures as defensive moderately-anxious. As predicted, repressors showed greater systolic blood pressure reactivity in response to a mental challenge relative to the other groups (p less than 0.01). Repressors also had greater resting systolic blood pressure levels than the other groups (p less than 0.001). The findings are discussed with respect to the potential influence of this response pattern on blood pressure and other CVD risk factors and behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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