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The impact of physical proximity and attachment working models on cardiovascular reactivity: Comparing mental activation and romantic partner presence.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Bourassa, KJ; Ruiz, JM; Sbarra, DA
Published in: Psychophysiology
May 2019

Close relationships, especially high-quality romantic relationships, are consistently associated with positive physical health outcomes. Attenuated cardiovascular reactivity is one physiological mechanism implicated in explaining these effects. Drawing on attachment and social baseline theories, this experimental study evaluated two potential affiliative cues as mechanisms through which romantic relationships may attenuate cardiovascular reactivity to a laboratory-based stressor. Prior to a cold pressor task, 102 participants were randomly assigned to either have their partner physically present, call upon a mental representation of their partner, or think about their day during the stressor. Consistent with our preregistered hypotheses, participants in both the partner present and mental activation conditions had significantly lower blood pressure (BP) reactivity during the cold pressor task compared to control participants for both systolic (d = -0.54) and diastolic BP (d = -0.53), but no significant differences emerged for heart rate or heart rate variability. Although participants in the partner present and mental activation conditions had similar BP reactivity to the cold pressor task, those in the partner present condition reported significantly less pain as a result of the task. The difference in BP reactivity by condition was moderated-BP reactivity was greater for people with lower self-reported relationship satisfaction. The results suggest that accessing the mental representation of a romantic partner and a partner's presence each buffer against exaggerated acute stress responses to a similar degree.

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Published In

Psychophysiology

DOI

EISSN

1540-5958

ISSN

0048-5772

Publication Date

May 2019

Volume

56

Issue

5

Start / End Page

e13324

Related Subject Headings

  • Young Adult
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Spouses
  • Sexual Partners
  • Object Attachment
  • Models, Psychological
  • Male
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Humans
  • Heart Rate
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
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Bourassa, K. J., Ruiz, J. M., & Sbarra, D. A. (2019). The impact of physical proximity and attachment working models on cardiovascular reactivity: Comparing mental activation and romantic partner presence. Psychophysiology, 56(5), e13324. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13324
Bourassa, Kyle J., John M. Ruiz, and David A. Sbarra. “The impact of physical proximity and attachment working models on cardiovascular reactivity: Comparing mental activation and romantic partner presence.Psychophysiology 56, no. 5 (May 2019): e13324. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13324.
Bourassa, Kyle J., et al. “The impact of physical proximity and attachment working models on cardiovascular reactivity: Comparing mental activation and romantic partner presence.Psychophysiology, vol. 56, no. 5, May 2019, p. e13324. Epmc, doi:10.1111/psyp.13324.

Published In

Psychophysiology

DOI

EISSN

1540-5958

ISSN

0048-5772

Publication Date

May 2019

Volume

56

Issue

5

Start / End Page

e13324

Related Subject Headings

  • Young Adult
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Spouses
  • Sexual Partners
  • Object Attachment
  • Models, Psychological
  • Male
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Humans
  • Heart Rate