Effects of Experimental Psychological Stress on Human Physiological Functioning: Mediation by Affiliation
Description: This investigation sought to identify differences in the human psychophysiological stress response when mediated by affiliation, by assessing heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), electrodermal activity (EDA), serum Cortisol (SC) concentration, interleukin-2 (IL-2) concentration, and state anxiety among subjects who underwent an anagram solution task. Thirty male subjects from the University of North Texas were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions and asked to solve a series of difficult anagrams either alone or with a companion. Subjects assigned to the control condition were asked to copy permutations of the anagrams. Before, and immediately after the anagram/copying tasks HR, SBP, DBP were measured, blood samples drawn, and The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) administered to all subjects. EDA was measured throughout all trials. Changes from baseline through the experimental period for all dependent variables were analyzed by employing difference scores derived from contrasting baseline and experimental measures. These scores were subjected to an analysis of variance (ANOVA) resulting in one significant between group effect among all dependent variables examined. Contrary to stated hypotheses, the alone condition significantly differed from the companion and control conditions by demonstrating a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure from baseline through the experimental period. It was concluded that the decrease in systolic blood pressure from baseline through the experimental period for the alone group was a result of chance sampling of individuals possessing unique psychophysiological response patterns. Appraisals of inter-group differences in response patterns across all dependent variables suggest that an insufficient stressor, and limitations in design, statistical analysis, and measurement may have contributed to this investigation's results. Implications of findings were discussed along with suggestions for future research.
Date: August 1995
Creator: Walker, Douglas W. (Douglas Wallace)
Partner: UNT Libraries