Blood Pressure Recovery

The Role of Angry Rumination and Distraction in Blood Pressure Recovery from Emotional Arousal


Negative and angry thoughts, such as recapturing infuriated events from one's past can slow down the recovery process of developing hypertension and coronary heart disease because of its effects in increasing blood pressure, this leads to the assumption that emotions and stress play a key role in heart disease.


Sixty individuals, thirty males and thirty females of different backgrounds (race and ethnicity) within the age of 37.9 ±13.8 years, were studied in order to analyze the effects in the elevation of sustained blood pressure after angry ruminations under controlled and supervised distraction and non-distraction manipulations. All participants didn't have any previous history of hypertension or coronary heart disease. Participants were also asked to abstain from smoking and drinking caffeinated beverages four hours before the study began.

The experiment was done in two sets of experiments-distraction and non-distractions manipulations. All participants were constantly measured for blood pressure and heart rate.

Participants were asked to list three angry experiences they had been through in the previous year and in a seven-point scale, scale how angry they felt with each experience in the anger incident measure.

In the anger-recall task, the experimenter in charged of listening to the participants describing their angry experiences made eye contact with participants and nodded their heads signaling the participants to keep on with their stories without showing any signs of agreement or disagreement with the participant.

In the course of distraction manipulation, a screen was placed in front of the participant's view. One side of the screen was blank and on the other side more than thirty bright-colored posters were positioned. In the non-distraction manipulation only the blank screen was in the participant's view, all other distractions were removed.

During sampling of self-reported thoughts participants were told that during the recovery period they would hear tones at fixed intervals (the intervals were not told to participants) and that after each interval they would write down a word or two on what they were thinking at that moment. They were then asked to categorize their thoughts into “anger-recall-related”, “distraction-related” or “other”.

Lastly, cardiovascular activities such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure along with heart rate.


The results for the anger-recall task, demonstrated that both blood pressure and heart rate increased, paired t tests demonstrate these rates. Anger-recall task also demonstrates the important differences in systolic blood pressure.

During distraction and non-distraction manipulations blood pressure and heart rate also increased. Systolicand diastolic blood pressure differences were not large, with.On the other hand major differences in heart rate were obtained.


The hypothesis was supported by the results because the results support the proposal that emotional stresses and anger rumination increase blood pressure and heart rate which can lead to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and coronary heart disease.

Medical implications that can be obtained from the findings of this research is that people who are easily angered or who hold their anger/s inside are at increased risk of developing heart disease because of increased blood pressure and heart rate due to their angers. From this finding the medical community specifically cardiologists can try and work with their patients on better or successfully managing anger as part of their treatment or preventive treatment.

The Role of Angry Rumination and Distraction in Blood Pressure Recovery From Emotional Arousal

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