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Psychological stress, appraisal, emotion and Cardiovascular response in a public speaking task

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Forty-three undergraduates (30 males, 13 females) prepared and performed a speech task (stressor) or a reading task (no-stressor control). Preparing to speak led to greater threat appraisal, negative emotion, and cardiovascular (CV) response than preparing to read aloud, particularly in speech anxious individuals. Delivering the speech, however, did not result in an increment in CV response over and above preparation. Although threat appraisals could not explain the effect of stress on CV response during task preparation, negative emotion accounted for over half of the effect. These data support the hypothesis that CV response in these studies is at least partially accounted for by psychological processes (stressor-specific anxiety and negative emotional response) and suggests that these processes may be best studied during a period of stressor anticipation.
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Keywords: Appraisal; Cardiovascular response; Emotion; Personality; Stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: World University Service United Kingdom 2: Carnegie Mellon University 3: Fox Chase Cancer Center 4: Department of Health & Behavior Studies Box 114 Teachers College Columbia University 525 West 120th Street New York NY 10027

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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