Emotion, stress, and cardiovascular response: An experimental test of models of positive and negative affect

Haulie Dowd, Alex Zautra, Michael Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background The nature of the relationship between positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) has been a topic of debate for some time. In particular, there are gaps in our knowledge of the independent effects of PA and NA on health under stress. Purpose The study examined the effects of a laboratoryinduced stressor on the experience of PA and NA, and the effects of affect on cardiovascular (CV) reactivity and recovery. Method A sample of 56 female college students was randomly assigned to a public speaking (stress) task or a silent reading (control) task. Pre-and posttask PA and NA were measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS Watson J Pers Soc Psychol 54:1,063-1,070, 1988). Baseline, task, and posttask cardiovascular measures were also recorded. Results The results indicated that PA and NA responded differently to the stressor and contributed independently to the prediction of both CV reactivity and recovery. Of particular interest was the finding that higher levels of both PA and NA predicted greater CV recovery. Conclusion Results are discussed in light of the debate concerning the (in)dependence of positive and negative emotions and the importance of understanding the dynamics of emotions, stress, and health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Affect
  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Health
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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