Published:  2013

Association of Type D personality with the autonomic and hemodynamic response to the cold pressor test

Authors:  Nina Kupper, Aline Pelle, Johan Denollet

Tags:  Autonomic nervous system, Blood pressure, Cardiovascular reactivity, Cold pressor task, Heart rate, Impedance cardiography, Type D personality

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Mechanisms relating Type D personality to poor health are largely unknown, with autonomic nervous system function being a candidate. This study examined the physiologic response to cold stress. Undergraduates (N = 101, 84% female) underwent a cold pressor test. An electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, and blood pressure were recorded. Type D personality was assessed by self-report questionnaire. Type D was associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure reactivity. Exploratory analyses showed Type D men to respond with increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia (i.e., higher parasympathetic activity), and decreased pre-ejection period (i.e., larger sympathetic activity), while Type D women showed a reciprocal response pattern. In conclusion, Type D personality was associated with an exaggerated hemodynamic response to cold stress, which may contribute to an increased risk of hypertension in Type D individuals.