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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Lehman, Barbara J., 1943-

Second Advisor

Lemm, Kristi M., 1971-

Third Advisor

Graham, James M., 1974-


Stress has many physical effects on the body, including producing elevations in heart rate and blood pressure. This study investigated associations between daily academic stressors and cardiovascular activity. Because individual differences may influence physical reactions to academic stressors, differences in threat/challenge appraisal, test anxiety, and behavioral inhibition were considered as potential moderators of the relationship between academic stressors and cardiovascular activity. Forty-five undergraduate student participants (10 men, 35 women, M age = 20.58) wore an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for four consecutive days, and completed a series of individual difference assessments. Acute and anticipatory academic stressors were associated with cardiovascular reactivity for men only. Challenge appraisals (low threat) were associated with elevated cardiovascular responses during times of greater academic stress. Additionally, test anxiety and behavioral inhibition moderated the association between academic stressors and cardiovascular activity. However, these patterns were somewhat varied and inconsistent. This research suggests that men's everyday academic stressors are linked with blood pressure, and such reactivity may predict health complications later in life. Interventions in early college, or earlier in life, may be helpful in promoting good health among students.




College students--Effect of stress on, Cardiovascular system--Effect of stress on, Stress (Physiology)


Western Washington University

OCLC Number



masters theses




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