Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 15–27

The Availability of Social Support Reduces Cardiovascular Reactivity to Acute Psychological Stress

  • Bert N. Uchino
  • Timothy S. Garvey

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025583012283

Cite this article as:
Uchino, B.N. & Garvey, T.S. J Behav Med (1997) 20: 15. doi:10.1023/A:1025583012283


The influence of the availability of social support on cardiovascular reactivity to acute psychological stress was examined. Twenty-eight men and twenty-one women performed a speech task either in a support availability or no support availability condition while measures of systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate (HR) were assessed. Consistent with past research, the speech stressor was associated with significant increases in SBP, DBP, and HR. More important, the availability of social support moderated cardiovascular reactivity to the acute stressor: individuals in the support availability condition were characterized by lower SBP and DBP reactivity to the acute stressor compared to individuals in the no support availability condition. These data suggest that simply having potential access to support is sufficient to foster adaptation to stress in the absence of enacted support.

cardiovascular reactivity health psychosocial stress social support 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert N. Uchino
    • 1
  • Timothy S. Garvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Health Psychology ProgramUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City

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