Metabolically exaggerated cardiac reactions to acute psychological stress: the effects of resting blood pressure status and possible underlying mechanisms

George M Balanos, Anna C Phillips, Michael P Frenneaux, David McIntyre, Christos Lykidis, Harry S Griffin, Douglas Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The study aimed to: confirm that acute stress elicits metabolically exaggerated increases in cardiac activity; test whether individuals with elevated resting blood pressure show more exaggerated cardiac reactions to stress than those who are clearly normotensive; and explore the underlying mechanisms. Cardiovascular activity and oxygen consumption were measured pre-, during, and post-mental stress, and during graded sub-maximal cycling exercise in 11 young men with moderately elevated resting blood pressure and 11 normotensives. Stress provoked increases in cardiac output that were much greater than would be expected from contemporary levels of oxygen consumption. Exaggerated cardiac reactions were larger in the relatively elevated blood pressure group. They also had greater reductions in total peripheral resistance, but not heart rate variability, implying that their more exaggerated cardiac reactions reflected greater beta-adrenergic activation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-11
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Adolescent
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Surface Area
  • Cardiac Output
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen
  • Rest
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Young Adult

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