Date of Award
The goal of this study was to investigate further the nature of the relationship between background stress and cardiovascular response to relationships between mood and background stress, and background stress and psychological distress were also explored. The background stress levels of 59 undergraduate students were measured using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Measures of psychological distress were taken using the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), mood was assessed with the Brief Mood Induction Scale (BMIS), and other relevant data were collected. Systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were measured through three 8-minute test periods, an 8-minute Mood Induction Task, and a 3-minute Mental Arithmetic Task. It was hypothesized that a positive correlation would be present between PSS measures and cardiovascular reactivity, due to the majority of research supporting a theory of heightened reactivity in individuals with higher stress. There was a significant period main effect for all three cardiovascular measures, indicating that the Mental Arithmetic Task did produce reactivity above rest. However, data analyses indicated that there was no significant correlation between background stress and reactivity. It was also hypothesized that there would be a significant positive correlation between PSS measures and changes in negative mood during the Mood Induction Task. T-tests of before and after measures of mood variable acute stress. Possible iv scores on the BMIS indicated change in mood, showing that the mood induction worked. Analyses of data showed no relationship between PSS or GHQ measures and change in negative mood. Hypothesis 3 stated that there would be a significant positive correlation between PSS and GHQ measures, There was evidence of a significant correlation between background stress and measures for psychological distress. It is concluded that the relationship between background stress and reactivity may have a complexity requiring more detailed knowledge of subjects’ stress. There is not enough evidence, based on the data collected, to draw conclusions about the relationship between PSS and change in negative mood. Finally, strong correlation between PSS and GHQ measures is supported by prior research. Further research into the relationship between background stress and psychological stress may be of interest.
Bocek, Christine MaLishka Jean, "The Effects of Background Stress on Cardiovascular Responses to Acute Stress" (2009). Honors Theses. 1952.