Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

Michael T. Allen

Second Advisor

Carol L. Gohm

Third Advisor

Todd A. Smitherman

Relational Format



The role that excess adipose tissue plays in chronic inflammation gives rise to its importance as an independent risk factor in cardiovascular dysfunction. By operationalizing chronic stress as obesity, we sought to explore the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular responses to laboratory stressors, including recovery from stress. Further, we examined five adiposity measures to determine which were most related to cardiovascular dysfunction. Degree of obesity was able to predict dysfunction in both reactivity and recovery. Body mass index and waist circumference were found to be the best predictors of cardiovascular dysfunction. Blunted reactivity and slorecovery were found in participants with greater levels of adiposity.


Emphasis: Experimental Psychology



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