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Keywords:

  • Sex differences;
  • Coronary heart disease;
  • Meta-analysis;
  • Reproductive hormones;
  • Stress;
  • Psychophysiology

ABSTRACT

This editorial offers and provides preliminary support for the hypothesis that sex differences exist in physiological responses to acute behavioral stress, which may aid in understanding the enormous sex differences in risk for coronary heart disease. Epidemiological data regarding the differential sex experience of coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality are discussed, followed by a meta-analytic review of available psychophysiological data on sex differences in stress-induced cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses. The implications of the meta-analysis for conceptual and methodological issues in psychophysiological research are highlighted.