Family history of hypertension, personality patterns, and cardiovascular reactivity to stress

R. S. Jorgensen, B. K. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The study was conducted to assess whether certain personality characteristics in combination with a positive family history for essential hypertension (EH) are associated with excessive cardiovascular reactivity. Subgroups who differed in the patterns of their personality characteristics were identified within normotensives with a positive family history (FH+) of EH and within normotensives with a negative family history (FH-) of EH via cluster analytic techniques. A subgroup of FH+ subjects who were characterized by denial and unwilling to admit to neurotic feelings or aggressiveness exhibited exaggerated blood pressure reactivity to two experimental tasks. Moreover, relative to their level of heightened physiologic arousal, subjects in this subgroup reported little negative effect in response to the tasks, which further suggests that they deny or suppress their feelings. The similarity of the personality pattern of these cardiovascularly reactive FH+ individuals to that sometimes found among individuals with EH is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-117
Number of pages16
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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