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Does dissociation of emotional and physiological reactivity predict blood pressure change over 10 years? Levin, Anna Yudit

Abstract

One of the major theories of psychosomatic medicine is that pervasive dissociations between physiological reactivity and simultaneous emotion awareness may be an important marker for the long term development of cardiac problems. For example, a defensive coping style is characterized by high physiological reactivity to a stressor, paired with simultaneous low subjective emotional awareness of that stressor. The numerous different factors that have been identified as predictive of later cardiac states have lead to conceptual confusion in the field. Subjective Autonomic Discrepancy (SAD) scores computed by subtracting standardized subjective stress response scores from standardized reactivity scores, are proposed as a simplified method of capturing the dissociation between physiological and emotional reactivity, and thus increasing the explanatory power of predictive models of cardiac health outcomes. Data from a ten-year longitudinal study were used to evaluate the reliability and predictive validity of this phenomenon. It was found that discrepancy scores for blood pressure indices show trait-like stability over a period of 3 years (r= .53, p

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