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It’s all in your head! The uncoupling of psychological and biological stress responses

Brindle, Ryan (2014) It’s all in your head! The uncoupling of psychological and biological stress responses. In: University of Birmingham Graduate School Research Poster Conference 2014, 10th June 2014, University of Birmingham. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: Stress triggers psychological and biological responses that, among the general public, are perceived to be intimately linked. However, few studies have directly examined the relationship between actual and perceived psychological and biological stress responses.

Study 1: Participants (N = 276) completed a 10-minute mental arithmetic stressor while heart rate (HR) was recorded at baseline and during stress. Participants graphed their perceived HR and task stressfulness. Areas under the curve (AUC) for stressfulness and perceived HR were significantly related (p < .001) while neither AUCs for perceived HR nor task stressfulness were related to actual HR AUC.

Study 2: High school students (N=180) reported, in response to a 10-minute mental arithmetic stressor, levels of perceived control, somatic anxiety, perceived threat and stressfulness. HR was measured at baseline and during stress and HR reactivity was calculated (stress-baseline). Again, stressfulness was related to increased somatic anxiety (p < .001) but neither was related to HR. Increased perceived stressfulness was found to result from an increased level of perceived threat caused by a perceived loss of control. Conclusion: Results suggest that the accepted notion that stress should cause increases in HR is not always true indicating dissociation between psychological and physiological stress responses.

Type of Work:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Additional Information:

Research Supervisors: Dr Anna Phillips and Dr Annie Ginty

Date:June 2014
Series/Collection Name:Prizewinners from the Graduate School Research Poster Conference 2014
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QP Physiology
Related URLs:
Copyright Status:This poster is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this poster must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged.
Copyright Holders:The Author
ID Code:1909

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