Constitutional and behavioural correlates of individual differences in biological stress reactivity

Bibbey, Adam (2015). Constitutional and behavioural correlates of individual differences in biological stress reactivity. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examined potential corollaries of individual differences in cardiovascular and/or cortisol reactions to acute psychological stress, with specific focus upon personality and behavioural characteristics. Chapter 2 reported that a negative constellation of the Big 5 personality traits, higher neuroticism and lower openness and agreeableness, was associated with blunted physiological reactivity. Chapter 3 demonstrated that, in comparison to individuals without Type D personality, Type Ds had greater physiological reactivity during social stress, but lower reactivity when exposed to largely asocial stress. Both these studies also reported dissociation between subjective and physiological stress responses. Chapter 4 reported that individuals with problematic Internet use and/or excessive alcohol consumption did not differ in physiological stress reactivity in comparison to non-dependent controls. Finally, Chapter 5 demonstrated that, compared to exaggerated cardiovascular stress responders, blunted reactors had greater levels of behavioural impulsivity. Overall, the research reported provides evidence that there is dissociation between affective and physiological stress responses, the context in which the stressful situation is experienced is important, and finally, blunted reactivity appears to be related to adverse outcomes which are stable rather than transient, suggesting that it may be a peripheral marker of dysfunction in the brain systems that support motivated behaviour.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry


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