Metabolically exaggerated cardiac reactions to acute psychological stress: The effects of resting blood pressure status and possible underlying mechanisms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The study aimed to: confirm that acute stress elicits metabolically exaggerated increases in cardiac activity; test whether individuals with elevated resting blood pressure show more exaggerated cardiac reactions to stress than those who are clearly normotensive; and explore the underlying mechanisms. Cardiovascular activity and oxygen consumption were measured pre-, during, and post-mental stress, and during graded sub-maximal cycling exercise in 11 young men with moderately elevated resting blood pressure and 11 normotensives. Stress provoked increases in cardiac output that were much greater than would be expected from contemporary levels of oxygen consumption. Exaggerated cardiac reactions were larger in the relatively elevated blood pressure group. They also had greater reductions in total peripheral resistance, but not heart rate variability, implying that their more exaggerated cardiac reactions reflected greater beta-adrenergic activation. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010


  • Total peripheral resistance, Additional cardiac output, Heart rate variability, Exercise, Psychological stress, Blood pressure