The cardiovascular response to acute psychological stress is related to subjectively giving and receiving social support

Stephen Gallagher*, Páraic O’Súilleabháin, Michael Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The pathways linking giving and receiving emotional and instrumental social support, and cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) are not yet fully understood. Eight-two healthy young adults completed psychometric measures of giving and receiving emotional and instrumental social support and participated in a standardised laboratory stress task. Cardiovascular and hemodynamic parameters were monitored throughout. Both giving and receiving emotional support were positively associated with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), such that those reporting giving and receiving more emotional support had higher reactivity. Only receiving instrumental was associated with DBP, with those receiving more instrumental support having higher reactivity. Moreover, while the significant association between giving social support and CVR withstood adjustment for several confounding factors (e.g., BMI, sex) it was abolished when receiving support was controlled for. These findings are novel and extend the literature on social support and CVR. Taken together, these findings suggest that receipt of support, rather than giving, may be more influential in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume164
Early online date16 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2021

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