Description: Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) does not occur until mid to late life for most adults, the presence of risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure (BP) and high cholesterol, has increased dramatically in young adults. Type D personality consists of two personality traits, negative affectivity (NA) and social inhibition (SI), and has repeatedly been shown to be an independent predictor of hard medical outcomes (e.g. morbidity and mortality) in cardiac patients. The present study examined the relationships between Type D personality (high NA and high SI), coping strategies, and physiological markers of cardiovascular health in a sample of non-medical, university students. Measures of cardiovascular risk included high frequency heart rate variability (HF HRV), calculated LDL cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure (SBP). Regression analyses revealed that higher use of social supportive coping was a significant predictor of calculated LDL cholesterol. Social supportive coping was also shown to moderate the relationship between Type D personality and HF HRV. Interventions that target psychological and physiological mechanisms associated with CVD are well developed. Clear identification of young adults who are at risk of developing CVD is necessary to intervene in a manner that could potentially save lives. Additional systematic research, especially if it is longitudinal, will help to clarify the ability of Type D personality and coping to predict CVD.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Martin, Luci A.