Get access

Three-year stability of cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system responses to psychological stress

Authors

  • Anda I. Dragomir,

    1. Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Psychology Department, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Christina Gentile,

    1. Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Psychology Department, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Robert P. Nolan,

    1. Behavioural Cardiology Research Unit, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bianca D'Antono

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Psychology Department, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • Address correspondence to Bianca D'Antono, Ph.D., Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, 5000 Belanger Street East, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H1T 1C8. E-mail: bianca.d.antono@umontreal.ca

    Search for more papers by this author

  • This study was funded by grants awarded to Dr. D'Antono by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR; MOP #79456; #111017) and the Fondation de l'Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal (FICM). Thanks also to Marc-Antoine Gillis and Sebastien Authier for their generous contribution to the HRV programming. We also extend our gratitude to Crina Solomon, Karine Lévesque, and Sébastien Bureau for their valuable contribution to participant recruitment, data entry, and processing.

Abstract

Chronically heightened physiological reactivity to or delayed recovery from stress may contribute to cardiovascular (CV) risk and mortality. Long-term stability of physiological stress responses has received little attention. Our objectives were to evaluate the 3-year stability of reactivity and recovery change scores across CV and autonomic parameters and assess whether sex and age moderate stability. A total of 134 healthy participants underwent two laboratory stress protocols, including four 5-min interpersonal stressors, each followed by a 5-min recovery period. Heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and HR variability (high frequency, low frequency, very low frequency [VLF]) were obtained. Spearman rank correlations and linear regressions were performed. Significant correlations emerged for all physiological measures except diastolic BP and VLF recovery. No significant sex or age differences were found. Stress responses represent stable individual traits little affected by sex or age.

Ancillary