Cardiovascular reactivity during social and nonsocial stressors: do children's personal goals and expressive skills matter?

Health Psychol. 2002 Jan;21(1):16-24.


The relationships between social competence and cardiovascular reactivity were evaluated in 180 children (ages 8-17; 52% female; 53% Caucasian). Participants performed a social task (Social Competence Interview [SCI]) and 2 nonsocial tasks while reactivity measures were obtained. Social competence was coded from SCI audiotapes. Among adolescents, higher scores on the Acceptance-Affiliation subscale were associated with increased heart rate (HR) and blood pressures and with decreased HR variability during the SCI. Among boys, greater Acceptance-Affiliation scores were associated with increased vascular reactivity during the SCI. During the nonsocial tasks, higher Self-Defensiveness and Expressiveness scores were associated with increased cardiac output and stroke volume among African American children. Personal strivings and expressive skills do matter for understanding cardiovascular responses in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*