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Emotion regulation style and cardiovascular reactivity to active and passive stress: cross-sectional and experimental analyses
Griffin, Siobhán M.
Introduction. The present thesis examines the influence of individual differences in emotion regulation style on stress responsivity. Three key methodological refinements were incorporated to help elucidate if individual differences in emotion regulation influences cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) to psychological stress. First, a standardised laboratory stress paradigm was employed, yielding more reliable assessment of CVR; emotion regulation research rarely incorporates a valid resting baseline measurement. Second, more sophisticated indices of physiological arousal were assessed, such as blood pressure, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance; emotion regulation research typically uses skin conductance responses as an index of physiological responding. Third, this research examined the underlying patterns of hemodynamic responding. Methods. Five empirical studies are reported. Study 1 examined associations between habitual emotion regulation style, perceived stress, and psychological well-being in a sample of 170 members of the general population. Study 2 reported on the influence of trait emotion regulation style on CVR to an active stress task in the laboratory in a sample of 48 young adults. Study 3 tested the construct validity of a novel passive stress task, in a prospective study of 25 young adults. In the same sample, Study 4 examined emotion regulation style and CVR to this passive stress task. Study 5 manipulated the use of instructed reappraisal and examined the effects of reappraisal on cardiovascular adaptation to recurrent stress in a sample of 139 young adults. Results. Study 1 confirmed greater use of suppression, and greater emotion dysregulation, were associated with greater perceived stress and poorer psychological health. Study 2 found trait emotion regulation style influenced CVR during active stress; reappraisal was associated with a more healthful response, while suppression and difficulties in emotion regulation were associated with a less adaptive response. Study 3 confirmed the construct validity of a novel passive task. Study 4 demonstrated that individual differences in emotion regulation style did not influence CVR during passive stress. Study 5 found instructed reappraisal did not influence cardiovascular adaptation to recurrent stress. Conclusion. The present results provide evidence that emotion regulation style results in altered patterns of CVR, which in the long-term may have consequences for physical health. However, the results suggest that instructed use of a healthful strategy, reappraisal, in the laboratory does not help adaption to recurrent stress. Rather, trait emotion regulation style is the important determinant in predicting how emotional regulation influences stress responsivity.
Keyword(s): passive stress; psychological stress; cardiovascular reactivity (CVR)
Publication Date:
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University of Limerick
Publisher(s): University of Limerick
Supervisor(s): Howard, Siobhán
Creaven, Ann-Marie
First Indexed: 2020-09-25 06:44:26 Last Updated: 2020-09-25 06:44:26