Article

Blunted cardiovascular reactivity to acute psychological stress predicts low behavioral but not self-reported perseverance: A replication study

Citation

Whittaker AC & Chauntry AJ (2020) Blunted cardiovascular reactivity to acute psychological stress predicts low behavioral but not self-reported perseverance: A replication study. Psychophysiology. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13707

Abstract
Emerging evidence suggests that individuals with poor behavioral perseverance show low or blunted physiological responses to acute psychological stress. For example, a recent preliminary laboratory study demonstrated that blunted responders give up sooner and take fewer attempts when endeavoring to complete an impossible puzzle, but do not self‐report poor perseverance. This present research is a replication of the previous study with an increased sample size, longer recovery periods between tasks and addition of social evaluation to the cold pressor. Participants (147) completed a self‐report perseverance questionnaire (Short Grit Scale) and behavioral perseverance tasks (impossible Euler puzzle and socially evaluated cold‐pressor (SECPT)). The number of attempts and time spent trying to complete the unsolvable puzzle, and duration of hand submergent during the SECPT, were recorded as behavioral perseverance measures. Difference in blood pressure (BP) and pulse rate (PR) from baseline to a 10‐min paced auditory serial addition task (PASAT) were computed as reactivity. As previously, reactivity did not relate to self‐reported perseverance and blunted BP reactivity to the PASAT was associated with less time persevering at the unsolvable puzzle. Additionally, blunted BP and PR reactivity to the PASAT related to poorer perseverance during the SECPT. These findings, replicating the previous study, increase confidence that blunted reactivity is a physiological marker of poor behavioral perseverance. Moreover, given that self‐reported perseverance does not relate to reactivity, this suggests that blunted responders are not conscious of this detriment in perseverance, but likely need additional support when persistence is critical (e.g., during behavior change).

Keywords
adherence; blood pressure; cardiovascular reactivity; heart rate; PASAT; perseverance; persistence; psychological stress; socially evaluated cold pressor

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
Psychophysiology

StatusIn Press
FundersHorizon 2020 (Outputs)
Publication date online31/10/2020
Date accepted by journal28/09/2020
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/31825
ISSN0048-5772
eISSN1469-8986