2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Patient Conversation Raises Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Michael J. Urlakis*, Megan Thomas, and Adam Kabins
Dr. Frederic Shaffer, Faculty Mentor

This study examined the contribution of patient conversation to white coat hypertension. Thirty-six undergraduates and faculty (18 women and 18 men), aged 19-55, simulated patients visiting the campus Health Clinic for a checkup. In this within-subjects design, participants were randomly assigned to one of six orders of three conversation conditions during automated blood pressure measurement, separated by 5-min buffer periods. The three conditions were silence, positive conversation (reading a positive health description), and negative conversation (reading a negative health description). Negative conversation produced greater negative affect than silence and positive conversation. Both positive and negative conversations significantly increased systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressures, and heart rate when compared to silence. Positive and negative conversations produced comparable changes on these measures. Since both positive and negative emotions involve sympathetic activation, patient conversations that result in affective arousal may contribute to white coat hypertension.

Keywords: hypertension, blood pressure, heart rate

Topic(s):Psychology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 55-1
Location: VH 1010
Time: 2:45

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