Trait dominance and cardiovascular reactivity to social and non-social stressors: Gender-specific implications
The present study sought to investigate whether trait dominance exerted different influences on cardiovascular responses to social and nonsocial stressors among men and women. A sample of 39 college men and 41 college women underwent social (speech) and nonsocial (mental arithmetic) tasks, in a counterbalanced order. Cardiovascular reactivity to the tasks, trait dominance, state anxiety following the tasks, coping styles, hostility, and trait anxiety were all assessed, as were ratings of the tasks themselves. The data suggested no impact of trait dominance on the nonsocial stressor. However, for the social stressor, trait dominance was positively associated with cardiovascular reactivity among females but negatively associated among males. Among males, associations with state anxiety were congruent, suggesting that the observed relationships were anxiety-related rather than coping-related. Trait dominance appears to contribute to adaptive male responding to stress and possibly to maladaptive female responding.
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