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Keywords:

  • Ambulatory monitoring;
  • Communication;
  • Reactivity;
  • Blood pressure;
  • Cardiovascular;
  • Work site

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was used to investigate the cardiovascular correlates of naturally occurring interpersonal interactions. Participants were New York City traffic agents, who routinely engage in conflict-prone communication with the public under relatively fixed conditions. Talking with the public, supervisors, or coworkers was associated with levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate that exceeded a resting baseline. Blood pressure was higher when agents were talking to the public than when they were talking to coworkers or engaged in a noncommunicative work task. Systolic blood pressure response during communication was associated with the agent's mood. Blood pressure effects associated with communication appear to persist after the communication has ceased. Implications of these data for the reactivity hypothesis of the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease are discussed.