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Neuroticism and Cardiovascular Response in Women: Evidence of Effects on Blood Pressure Recovery


  • The authors would like to thank Danielle Dorn, Julia Martin, and Alexandra Terrill for their important contributions toward the successful completion of this study.

concerning this article should be addressed to John M. Ruiz, PhD, University of North Texas, Psychology, Terrill Hall, Rm 369, 1155 Union Circle #311280, Denton, TX 76203. Email:


ABSTRACT Neuroticism is a unifying personality trait that underlies a number of psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease. One means by which Neuroticism may influence health risk is through effects on cardiovascular reactivity and recovery. Eighty-six women scoring high or low in Neuroticism took part in a paired interpersonal stressor task with a laboratory confederate. Conditions differed on the basis of the confederate's interpersonal behavior: hostile, neutral, or friendly. Neuroticism interacted with condition to affect blood pressure recovery such that women high in Neuroticism showed less recovery following hostile interactions and greater recovery following friendly interactions. Main effects of Neuroticism on anger and anxiety reactivity were found. Results indicate that Neuroticism is relevant to cardiovascular health in the context of valenced social interactions. Implications for future study of Neuroticism and interpersonal stressors as risk factors for cardiovascular disease are discussed.