Advertisement

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 111–119 | Cite as

Emotional Dampening in Persons with Elevated Blood Pressure: Affect Dysregulation and Risk for Hypertension

  • James A. McCubbinEmail author
  • James P. Loveless
  • Jack G. Graham
  • Gabrielle A. Hall
  • Ryan M. Bart
  • DeWayne D. Moore
  • Marcellus M. Merritt
  • Richard D. Lane
  • Julian F. Thayer
Original Article

Abstract

Background

Persons with higher blood pressure have emotional dampening in some contexts. This may reflect interactive changes in central nervous system control of affect and autonomic function in the early stages of hypertension development.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the independence of cardiovascular emotional dampening from alexithymia to better understand the role of affect dysregulation in blood pressure elevations.

Methods

Ninety-six normotensives were assessed for resting systolic and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure, recognition of emotions in faces and sentences using the Perception of Affect Task (PAT), alexithymia, anxiety, and defensiveness.

Results

Resting DBP significantly predicted PAT emotion recognition accuracy in men after adjustment for age, self-reported affect, and alexithymia.

Conclusions

Cardiovascular emotional dampening is independent of alexithymia and affect in men. Dampened emotion recognition could potentially influence interpersonal communication and psychosocial distress, thereby further contributing to BP dysregulation and increased cardiovascular risk.

Keywords

Emotion recognition Blood pressure Hypertension development Central nervous system Stress Alexithymia Repressive coping Defensiveness 

Notes

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

References

  1. 1.
    Bruehl S, Carlson CR, McCubbin JA. The relationship between pain sensitivity and blood pressure in normotensives. Pain. 1992;48:463-467.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    McCubbin JA, Bruehl S. Do endogenous opioids mediate the relationship between blood pressure and pain sensitivity in normotensives? Pain. 1994;57:63-67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pury CLS, McCubbin JA, Helfer SG, Galloway C, McMullen LJ. Elevated resting blood pressure and dampened emotional response. Psychosom Med. 2004;66:583-587.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    McCubbin JA, Merritt MM, Sollers JJ 3rd, et al. Cardiovascular-emotional dampening: the relationship between blood pressure and recognition of emotion. Psychosom Med. 2011;73:743-750.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jennings JR, Heim AF. From brain to behavior: hypertension’s modulation of cognition and affect. Int J Hypertens. 2012;2012:701385.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jorgensen RS, Johnson BT, Kolodziej ME, Schreer GE. Elevated blood pressure and personality: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull. 1996;120:293-320.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lacey BC, Lacey JI. Studies of heart rate and other bodily processes in sensorimotor behavior. In: Obrist PA, Black AH, Brener J, DiCara LV, eds. Cardiovascular psychophysiology. 1st ed. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company; 1974:538-592.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Randich A, Maixner W. Interactions between cardiovascular and pain regulatory systems. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1984;8:343-367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dworkin B, Elbert T, Rau H, et al. Central effects of baroreceptor activation in humans: attenuation of skeletal reflexes and pain perception. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 1994;91:6329-6333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ghione S. Hypertension-associated hypalgesia. Evidence in experimental animals and humans, pathophysiological mechanisms, and potential clinical consequences. Hypertension. 1996;28:494-504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    France CR. Decreased pain perception and risk for hypertension: considering a common physiological mechanism. Psychophysiology. 1999;36:683-692.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    al’Absi M, Buchanan T, Lovallo WR. Pain perception and cardiovascular responses in men with positive parental history for hypertension. Psychophysiology. 1996;33:655-661.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    France CR, Froese SA, Stewart JC. Altered central nervous system processing of noxious stimuli contributes to decreased nociceptive responding in individuals at risk for hypertension. Pain. 2002;98:101-108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Burns JW, Bruehl S, Caceres C. Anger management style, blood pressure reactivity, and acute pain sensitivity: evidence for "Trait × Situation" models. Ann Behav Med. 2004;27:195-204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nyklícek I, Vingerhoets AJ, Van Heck GL. Hypertension and objective and self-reported stressor exposure: a review. J Psychosom Res. 1996;40:585-601.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nyklícek I, Vingerhoets AJ, Van Heck GL. Hypertension and appraisal of physical and psychological stressors. J Psychosom Res. 2001;50:237-244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lane RD, Sechrest L, Riedel R, Shapiro DE, Kaszniak AW. Pervasive emotion recognition deficit common to alexithymia and the repressive coping style. Psychosom Med. 2000;62:492-501.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lane RD, Sechrest L, Riedel R. Sociodemographic correlates of alexithymia. Compr Psychiatry. 1998;39:377-385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Consoli SM, Lemogne C, Roch B, Laurent S, Plouin P, Lane RD. Differences in emotion processing in patients with essential and secondary hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2010;23:515-521.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jula A, Salminen JK, Saarijarvi S. Alexithymia: a facet of essential hypertension. Hypertension. 1999;33:1057-1061.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tolmunen T, Lehto SM, Heliste M, Kurl S, Kauhanen J. Alexithymia is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in middle aged Finnish men. Psychosom Med. 2009;72(2):187-191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lemche AV, Chaban OS, Lemche E. Alexithymia predicts triglyceride level, systolic blood pressure, and diabetic status in metabolic syndrome. Eur Psychiatry. 2010;25:1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zeitlin SB, Lane RD, O’Leary DS, Schrift MJ. Interhemispheric transfer deficit and alexithymia. Am J Psychiatr. 1989;146:1434-1439.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Heinzel A, Schafer R, Muller H, et al. Increased activation of the supragenual anterior cingulate cortex during visual emotional processing in male subjects with high degrees of alexithymia: an event-related fMRI study. Psychother Psychosom. 2010;76:363-370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Heinzel A, Schafer R, Muller H, et al. Differential modulation of valence and arousal in high-alexithymic and low-alexithymic individuals. Neuroreport. 2010;21:998-1002.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Pouga L, Berthoz S, de Gelder B, Grezes J. Individual differences in socioaffective skills influence the neural bases of fear processing: the case of alexithymia. Hum Brain Mapp. 2010;31:1469-1481.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Younger JW, Lawler-Row KA, Moe KA, Kratz AL, Keenum AJ. Effects of naltrexone on repressive coping and disclosure of emotional material: a test of the opioid-peptide hypothesis of repression and hypertension. Psychosom Med. 2006;68:734-741.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ioannou MC, Mogg K, Bradley BP. Vigilance for threat: effects of anxiety and defensiveness. Personal Individ Differ. 2004;36:1879-1891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Robinson MD, Moeller SK, Buchholz MM, Boyd RL, Troop-Gordon W. The regulatory benefits of high levels of affect perception accuracy: a process analysis of reactions to stressors in daily life. Emotion. 2012;12:785-795.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Paffenbarger RS, Thorne MC, Wing AL. Chronic disease in former college students. VIII. Characteristics in youth predisposing to hypertension in later years. Am J Epidemiol. 1968;88:25-32.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rabkin SW, Mathewson FA, Tate RB. Relationship of blood pressure in 20–30 year old men to subsequent blood pressure and incidence of hypertension over a 30 year observation period. Circulation. 1982;65:291-300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wilkinson DZ, France CR. Attenuation of positive and negative effect in men and women at increased risk for hypertension: a function of endogenous barostimulation? Psychophysiology. 2009;46:114-121.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Taggart P, Critchley H, Lambiase PD. Heart–brain interactions in cardiac arrhythmia. Heart. 2011;97:698-708.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Vella EJ, Kamarck TW, Shiffman S. Hostility moderates the effects of social support and intimacy on blood pressure in daily social interactions. Health Psychol. 2008;27:S155-S162.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Barefoot JC, Dahlstrom WG, Williams RB Jr. Hostility, CHD incidence, and total mortality: a 25-year follow-up study of 255 physicians. Psychosom Med. 1983;45(1):59-63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Chida Y, Steptoe A. The association of anger and hostility with future coronary heart disease: a meta-analytic review of prospective evidence. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;53:936-946.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Uchino BN, Cacioppo JT, Kiecolt-Glaser JK. The relationship between social support and physiological processes: a review with emphasis on underlying mechanisms and implications for health. Psychol Bull. 1996;119:488-531.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Muller J, Buhner M, Ellgring H. The assessment of alexithymia: psychometric properties and validity of the Bermond–Vorst alexithymia questionnaire. Personal Individ Differ. 2004;37:373-391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Low CA, Salomon K, Matthews KA. Chronic life stress, cardiovascular reactivity, and subclinical cardiovascular disease in adolescents. Psychosom Med. 2009;71:927-931.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Dietz LJ, Matthews KA. Depressive symptoms and subclinical markers of cardiovascular disease in adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 2011;48:579-584.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. McCubbin
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • James P. Loveless
    • 1
  • Jack G. Graham
    • 1
  • Gabrielle A. Hall
    • 2
  • Ryan M. Bart
    • 3
  • DeWayne D. Moore
    • 1
  • Marcellus M. Merritt
    • 4
  • Richard D. Lane
    • 5
  • Julian F. Thayer
    • 6
  1. 1.Clemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Gonzaga UniversitySpokaneUSA
  4. 4.University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA
  5. 5.University of ArizonaMaricopaUSA
  6. 6.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

Personalised recommendations