Increased systolic blood pressure reactivity to acute stress is related with better self-reported health Academic Article uri icon


  • The stress reactivity hypothesis posits that the magnitude of cardiovascular reactions to acute stress tasks is related with future blood pressure status, heart hypertrophy, and atherosclerosis. We assessed the stress reactivity hypothesis and aimed to identify which physiological indices (blood pressure, heart-rate, cortisol, salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA)) related to self-reported mental and physical health. We also assessed if physiological reactions elicited by an acute stressor were more related than basal assessments. Participants provided physiological samples, self-reported stress and health-data before and after an assessed 5-7 minute academic oral presentation. In hierarchical regression models, increased systolic and reduced sIgA reactivity was associated with better perceptions of mental health. Reactivity data were more related to self-reported data than basal data. In line with the only 2 studies to assess the reactivity hypothesis with self-perceived health, increased systolic reactivity was best associated with better perceived physical and mental health. The findings suggest that increased SBP reactivity may also be associated with positive health outcomes. Further research is required to determine if increased or decreased sIgA reactivity is most predictive of future morbidity.

publication date

  • November 13, 2014