Title

Behavioral markers of repressive coping and defensiveness: Patterns of communication and cardiovascular response to self-disclosure

Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Randall S. Jorgensen

Keywords

Cardiovascular, Communication, Coping, Defensiveness, Repressive, Behavioral markers

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Evidence suggests that ways of coping with stressors which involve inhibiting the expression of negative affect may predispose some individuals towards the development of high blood pressure. Social defensiveness and repressive coping are psychometrically derived attributes which have been associated with heightened physiological reactivity and low levels of disclosure. A study was conducted to determine whether a free-response self-disclosure task of low and high intimacy topics may discriminate between defensive and non-defensive coping styles on the basis of cardiovascular, verbal, and paralinguistic measures. The results indicate that defensive coping styles are associated with elevated heart rate, decreased expression of negative affect, and increased paralinguistic markers of anxiety. These data support a biopsychosocial model of hypertension, and are discussed as to their implications for the understanding of cardiovascular and communication patterns of hypertensive individuals.

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