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Kardiologiia. 1986 Jan;26(1):92-100.

[Psychological factors in hypertension].

[Article in Russian]


We briefly overview behavioral factors of possible relevance to essential hypertension. We examine, in particular, dimensions of individual differences relating to: (a) problems of anger and assertion; and (b) cardiovascular responsivity to behavioral stressors. Hypertensive patients do show larger cardiovascular reactions to common laboratory stressors than normotensive, controls, and similar differences emerge in comparisons of normotensive individuals with and without a family history of hypertension. Concerning the purported dispositional attributes of hypertensives, we also propose re-examining psychodynamic notions regarding the suppression or denial of anger within a more objective, behavioral framework-specifically, as measurable deficits in assertive skill. Preliminary observations point to the presence of lower assertiveness in some hypertensive patients and increased hostility among others. These behavioral characteristics also appear to be associated with different patterns of cardiovascular reactivity, as recorded during interpersonal encounters that call for assertive responding.

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