Cardiovascular responses to behavioral stressors: laboratory-field generalization and inter-task consistency.
Blood pressure and heart rate responses were monitored while 30 medical, dental or graduate students completed four laboratory tasks. On a second day, subjects wore an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, and during this day they completed the real-world challenge of presenting their research in front of a small audience. Heart rate and blood pressures correlated significantly between all four laboratory tasks for both absolute levels and reactivity scores (calculated as task level minus pre-task baseline level). However, while heart rate and blood pressure absolute levels for each task correlated significantly with those attained during the real-world stressor, correlation coefficients obtained when similarly comparing reactivity scores were uniformly non-significant. Laboratory-field generalization was thus evident only for absolute values. Consideration was then given to the fact that the laboratory tasks were undertaken in a seated position, while subjects stood during the real-world task. Activity diaries completed by subjects during the time they wore the ambulatory monitor were examined to search for readings that could be regarded as standing baselines. Such values were obtained for 12 of the subjects. Real-world reactivity scores were recalculated using these standing baselines, and compared again with reactivity scores during the laboratory tasks. Marked increases in correlation coefficients were obtained for systolic and diastolic pressure, but not for heart rate.
Turner, JR; Girdler, SS; Sherwood, A; Light, KC
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