Hemodynamic profile of stress-induced anticipation and recovery Academic Article uri icon


  • Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were measured in 100 healthy men and women with the aim of investigating hemodynamic profile during anticipation of, and recovery from, exposure to active and passive laboratory stressors. A 5-min anticipatory period preceded two tasks, both of which lasted 2.5 min. The tasks were mental arithmetic ('beta-adrenergic' stress) and the cold pressor test ('alpha-adrenergic' stress). Each task was followed by a 5-min recovery period. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured with a FinaPres 2300e, and stroke volume, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were computed from these parameters. Salivary cortisol was measured in relation to both tasks, and participants completed tests of state and trait anxiety, locus of control, and hostility. As expected, mental arithmetic and the cold pressor test elicited myocardial and vascular patterns of reactivity, respectively. However, contrary to expectations, anticipatory and recovery hemodynamic profile involved essentially vascular responding for both stressors. Salivary cortisol increased in response to both tasks but only weakly correlated with hemodynamic changes. None of the subjective measurements was a strong predictor of physiological reactivity. The findings suggest that stress-induced anticipatory and recovery reactivity may be generally vascular rather than myocardial. This could have important implications in light of suggestions that anticipatory and recovery responses may be better predictors of subsequent cardiovascular disease than direct stress-induced reactivity.

publication date

  • November 1999