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Do cardiovascular responses to active and passive coping tasks predict future blood pressure 10 months later?The study examined whether cardiovascular responses to active or passive coping tasks and single or multiple tasks predicted changes in resting blood pressure (BP) over a ten-month period. Heart rate (HR), BP, cardiac output (CO), and total peripheral resistance (TPR) were measured at rest, and during mental stress tests (mental arithmetic, speech, and cold pressor tasks). A total of 104 eligible participants participated in the initial study, and 77 (74.04%) normotensive adult participants’ resting BP were re-evaluated at ten-month follow-up. Regression analyses indicated that after adjustment for baseline BP, initial age, gender, body mass index, family history of cardiovascular disease, and current cigarette smoking, heightened systolic blood pressure (SBP) and HR responses to an active coping task (mental arithmetic) were associated with increased future SBP (R2 = .060, R2 =.045, respectively). Further, when aggregated, SBP responsivity (over the three tasks) resulted in a significant, but smaller increase in R2 accounting for .040 of the variance of follow-up SBP. These findings suggest that cardiovascular responses to active coping tasks predict future SBP. Furtherthe findings revealed that SBP responses to the tasks when aggregated were less predictive compared to an individual task (i.e., mental arithmetic). Of importance, hemodynamic reactivity (namely CO and TPR) did not predict future BP; suggesting that more general psychophysiological processes (e.g., inflammation, platelet aggregation) may be implicated, or that BP, but not hemodynamic reactivity may be a marker of hypertension.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression are related to cardiovascular responses to active, but not passive, coping tasksObjective: Anxiety and depression have been linked to blunted blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) reactions to mental stress tests; however, most studies have not included indices of underlying hemodynamics nor multiple stress tasks. This study sought to examine the relationships of anxiety and depression with hemodynamic responses to acute active and passive coping tasks. Methods: A total of 104 participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales and mental arithmetic, speech, and cold pressor tasks while BP, HR, total peripheral resistance, and cardiac output (CO) were assessed. Results: After adjustment for traditional risk factors and baseline cardiovascular activity, depression scores were negatively associated with systolic BP, HR, and CO responses to the mental arithmetic task, while anxiety scores were inversely related to the systolic BP response to mental arithmetic. Conclusion: High anxiety or depression scores appear to be associated with blunted cardiac reactions to mental arithmetic (an active coping task), but not to the cold pressor test or speech tasks. Future research should further examine potential mechanisms and longitudinal pathways relating depression and anxiety to cardiovascular reactivity.