Anticipation of Stress: Beneficial or Not?
UNIFORMED SERVICES UNIV OF THE HEALTH SCIENCES BETHESDA MD
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Effects and aftereffects of anticipating a stressor were compared with those associated with experience with the stressor. Forty subjects participated half were led to expect a 45 second cold pressor, while the others were not. Half of the subjects in each group completed the pressor, while half did not. This crossed anticipation with experience allowing study of biological and behavioral effects of anticipation alone and in combination with actual experience. While anticipating the stressor, subjects did not exhibit blood pressure and heart rate responses comparable to those associated with the stressor. Behavioral aftereffects following anticipation alone were comparable to those associated with anticipating and then experiencing the stressor and greater than those produced by unanticipated experience with the stressor. Urinary epinephrine and norepinephrine indicated that the most arousing condition was anticipation with no experience. These data show that anticipating the stressor was not beneficial. Anticipation proved detrimental after the fact.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Stress Physiology