, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 236-240
Date: 31 Mar 2009

Cardiac Stress Reactivity and Recovery of Novelty Seekers

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Abstract

Background

Novelty seeking temperament has been associated with higher coronary heart disease risk factors, but the mechanism behind the association is open. Cardiac stress response is a potential candidate.

Purpose

Cardiac stress reactivity and recovery was studied in 29 healthy subjects (aged 22–37 years) scoring extremely high (n = 16) or extremely low (n = 13) on temperamental dimension of novelty seeking.

Method

Heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and pre-ejection period were measured during challenging tasks. Differences in cardiac reactivity and recovery between the novelty seeking groups were examined with repeated-measures and univariate analyses.

Results

The main finding was that stress reactivity did not differ between high and low novelty seeking groups, but high novelty seekers tended to show faster recovery, which is likely to be parasympathetically mediated.

Conclusion

The findings suggest that high novelty seekers may be more stress resilient because they might have faster cardiac recovery after stress. Cardiac stress reactivity seems not to be among the explaining factors for the association between novelty seeking and coronary heart disease risk factors.