Published:  1994

The relationship between stress reactivity in the laboratory and in real-life: Is reliability the limiting factor?

Authors:  Lorenz J. P. van Doornen, Dirk L. Knol, Gonneke Willemsen, Eco J. C. de Geus

Tags:  Experimental Laboratories, Life Experiences, Stress Reactions

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Explored the effect of repeating a laboratory stressor and a real-life stress exposure on the correlation of the reactivity to both types of stressors. 49 male university students’ HRs were monitored during exposure to the same stressful lab task 3 times, with 1-wk intervals. Ss’ HRs were also monitored during 2 examinations. Despite the repeated exposures, the relationship between the average response to the repeated lab task and to the exams remained small and insignificant. The moderate association between reactivity to lab tasks and to real-life stress is not primarily a problem of reliability, but rather of the difference in the nature of the 2 stress situations. The difference in time scale may frustrate a real-life to lab comparison, and different physiological mechanisms may be operating during short and prolonged exposure to stress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)