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Association of Type D personality with the autonomic and hemodynamic response to the cold pressor test

Authors

  • Nina Kupper,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medical Psychology and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    • Address correspondence to: Dr. Nina Kupper, CoRPS—Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases, Department of Medical Psychology and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands. E-mail: h.m.kupper@tilburguniversity.edu

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  • Aline Pelle,

    1. Department of Medical Psychology and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
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  • Johan Denollet

    1. Department of Medical Psychology and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Mechanisms relating Type D personality to poor health are largely unknown, with autonomic nervous system function being a candidate. This study examined the physiologic response to cold stress. Undergraduates (N = 101, 84% female) underwent a cold pressor test. An electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, and blood pressure were recorded. Type D personality was assessed by self-report questionnaire. Type D was associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure reactivity. Exploratory analyses showed Type D men to respond with increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia (i.e., higher parasympathetic activity), and decreased pre-ejection period (i.e., larger sympathetic activity), while Type D women showed a reciprocal response pattern. In conclusion, Type D personality was associated with an exaggerated hemodynamic response to cold stress, which may contribute to an increased risk of hypertension in Type D individuals.

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