Haemodynamic reactions to acute psychological stress and smoking status in a large community sample



Phillips AC, Der G, Hunt K & Carroll D (2009) Haemodynamic reactions to acute psychological stress and smoking status in a large community sample. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 73 (3), pp. 273-278.

Exaggerated haemodynamic reactions to acute psychological stress have been implicated in a number of adverse health outcomes. This study examined, in a large community sample, the cross-sectional associations between haemodynamic reactivity and self-reported smoking status. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured at rest and in response to a 3-minute arithmetic stress task. Participants were classified as current, ex-, or non-smokers by their response to a simple prompt. Smokers had significantly smaller SBP and DBP reactions to acute stress than ex- and non-smokers; current and ex-smokers had lower HR reactivity. These effects remained significant following adjustment for a host of variables likely to be associated with reactivity and/or smoking. Although the act of smoking acutely increases haemodynamic activity, the present findings contribute to a growing body of literature showing that smokers have blunted reactivity to mental stress. They also support the hypothesis that blunted reactivity may be characteristic of a range of dependencies. The present results also suggest that smoking status needs to be considered in the design and analysis of stress reactivity studies. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Acute psychological stress; Blood pressure; Cardiovascular reactivity; Heart rate; Smoking

International Journal of Psychophysiology: Volume 73, Issue 3

FundersUniversity of Glasgow
Publication date30/09/2009
Publication date online04/05/2009
Date accepted by journal23/04/2009

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Professor Kate Hunt

Professor Kate Hunt

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing

Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Sport