Examining Social Vigilance and Associated Physiological Effects Across Types of Situational Stress
AuthorO'Neill, Riley M.
AdvisorRuiz, John M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEmerging work over the past four decades supports psychological stress as a critical determinant of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Previous research has supported social vigilance, or active watchful monitoring of one’s social environment for interpersonal challenges or threats, as a candidate biobehavioral process linking stress exposure to adverse cardiovascular reactivity and recovery profiles. Review of findings in this area reveals the need for research examining whether experimentally controlled contextual vigilance cues evoke the hypothesized biobehavioral responses. The current study randomized 135 undergraduate young adults (49% male, 51% female; Mage = 19 years, SDage = 4 years) to one of three videogames standardized as all first-person shooter scenarios, with the manipulation across games being type of situational stress (challenge, threat, neutral). Participants’ dispositional social vigilance was measured via trait assessment, and participants’ cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) was measured prior to, during, and after the experimental task. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models revealed higher stress games evoked significantly more CVR than the neutral game, especially in the case of threat condition. Participants in the high threat condition also demonstrated the least overall recovery to baseline blood pressure. No effects of vigilance disposition were observed during gameplay and modest effects of higher vigilance were associated with better physiological recovery, in contrast to expectations. These findings contribute to understanding how higher threat social situations may connote CVD risk through pull for greater preparatory monitoring and the acute cardiovascular responses corresponding to that behavior.
Degree ProgramGraduate College