Self-reported health and cardiovascular reactions to psychological stress in a large community sample: Cross-sectional and prospective associations

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Exaggerated cardiovascular reactions to acute psychological stress have been implicated in a number of adverse health outcomes. This study examined, in a large community sample, the cross-sectional and prospective associations between reactivity and self-reported health. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured at rest and in response to an arithmetic stress task. Self-reported health was assessed concurrently and 5 years later. In cross-sectional analyses, those with excellent/good self-reported health exhibited larger cardiovascular reactions than those with fair/poor subjective health. In prospective analyses, participants who had larger cardiovascular reactions to stress were more likely to report excellent/good health 5 years later, taking into account their reported health status at the earlier assessment. The findings suggest that greater cardiovascular reactivity may not always be associated with negative health outcomes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1027
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2009


  • Self-reported health, Heart rate, Acute psychological stress, Blood pressure