Life events and haemodynamic reactions to acute mental stress in middle-aged and elderly men and women

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes


Recent versions of the reactivity hypothesis, which consider it to be the product of stress exposure and exaggerated hemodynamic reactions to stress that confers cardiovascular disease risk, assume that reactivity is independent of the experience of stressful life events. This assumption was tested in two substantial cohorts, one middle-aged and one elderly. Participants had to indicate from a list of major stressful life events up to six they had experienced in the previous 2 years. They were also asked to rate how disruptive and stressful they were, at the time of occurrence and now. Blood pressure and pulse rate were measured at rest and in response to acute mental stress. Those who rated the events as highly disruptive at the time of exposure and now exhibited blunted systolic blood pressure reactions to acute stress. The present results suggest that acute stress reactivity may not be independent of stressful life events experience.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005


  • reactivity, blood pressure, life events, acute stress