Cardiovascular reactivity and neuroticism: results from a laboratory and controlled ambulatory stress protocol.

Academic Article


  • A laboratory and controlled ambulatory protocol was used to study whether there are differences in the cardiovascular reactivity of persons varying in neuroticism, the disposition to experience negative subjective emotions. Thirty-six individuals (19 men, 17 women) who scored approximately 1 standard deviation above or below the mean on the NEO PI-R Neuroticism scale (Costa & McCrae, 1992) were recruited from a larger pool of undergraduate students. Participants, who had been outfitted with an ambulatory blood pressure/heart rate monitor, were exposed to 5 laboratory stressors and 7 field stressors during a 6-hour protocol. Results indicated that individuals scoring high in neuroticism showed blood pressure reactivity to laboratory and field stressors that was comparable to that of persons low in neuroticism. Aggregrating responses across stressors, there was evidence of exaggerated heart rate responses. The results suggested that, although neuroticism is related to high levels of negative subjective experience, differences between persons scoring high versus low in neuroticism were not exhibited strongly at the cardiovascular level. The implications for stress, coping, and disease are discussed.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Schwebel DC; Suls J
  • Start Page

  • 67
  • End Page

  • 92
  • Volume

  • 67
  • Issue

  • 1