The type A behavior pattern, physical fitness, and psychophysiological reactivity.
Joint effects of the Type A behavior pattern and aerobic fitness were examined with regard to heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) changes elicited by laboratory challenges. Sixty-one college students were classified as Type A or B using the Structured Interview (SI), and as physically fit or sedentary using self-reports of activity level and estimated VO2max values obtained on a step test. Subjects were challenged with the SI, presentation of a snake, mental arithmetic, a cold pressor task, and two competitive card games. Significant A-B differences were found only on the SI and the card games. During the SI: As displayed significantly greater BP increases than Bs; sedentary subjects showed greater BP increases than fit subjects; and sedentary As revealed greater BP increases than either fit As, fit Bs, or sedentary Bs. In contrast, during the competitive games, physically fit As showed reliably greater BP increases than either sedentary As, sedentary Bs, or fit Bs. Since the physically fit subjects were almost exclusively varsity athletes and the sedentary subjects were college students who reported following a sedentary lifestyle, the differences between sedentary and fit groups may have been due to differences in aerobic fitness or to the improved ability of competitive athletes or those engaged in fitness training to match arousal level to task requirements.
Lake, BW; Suarez, EC; Schneiderman, N; Tocci, N
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