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Health Psychol. 1986;5(4):393-406.

Type A behavior, family history of hypertension, and cardiovascular responsivity among black women.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Type A behavior and family history of hypertension on cardiovascular reactivity to mental stress in a group of employed black women. Measures of heart rate and of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were taken at rest, during a mental arithmetic task, and during the Type A Structured Interview (SI). Results indicated that the Type A behavior pattern was associated with SBP and DBP hyperresponsivity during the SI but not during mental arithmetic. Additionally, certain speech components of the Type A pattern, as well as features of the potential-for-hostility component, were also related to cardiovascular responses during the SI. Family history of hypertension did not influence the cardiovascular parameters either alone or in combination with Type A behavior. The results suggest that many of the cardiovascular response characteristics of the Type A pattern that have been observed in predominantly white samples also hold true for blacks. Replication of these findings with other subgroups of blacks, such as young females and middle-aged males, will help document the generality of these findings within the black population.

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