Agonistic Interpersonal Striving: Social-Cognitive Mechanism of Cardiovascular Risk in Youth?

Craig K. Ewart, Randall S. Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The social competence model (SCM) of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk identifies combinations of goal-oriented strivings, expressive behaviors, and social skill deficits that contribute to persisting interpersonal difficulties and chronic health-damaging stress in youth. SCM hypotheses were tested on 187 Black and White adolescents who completed the Social Competence Interview (SCI) and later underwent ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitoring. Cluster analyses of stress narratives assessed via SCI identified 3 predicted stress profiles: agonistic (interpersonally focused), transcendent (self-development focused), and avoidant. Group comparisons using social, hemodynamic, and ABP data supported the SCM hypothesis that youths who exhibit the agonistic striving profile display diminished social competence, negative social impact, and heightened cardiovascular responding during a stress interview, and elevated ABP during normal social interactions, thus suggesting higher risk of CVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Adolescent health
  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Emotional expression
  • Interpersonal stress
  • Social competence
  • Strivings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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