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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 73-79

Cardiovascular responses to social stress elicited by the cyberball task

1 Neurodisability and Rehabilitation, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital; Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
2 Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia
3 Centre for Mental Health, Swinburne University of Technology; Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia
4 Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Robert Eres
50 Flemington Rd, Parkville, 3052
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_31_21

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Objective: The aim of the current study was to investigate cardiovascular responses to a brief social exclusion stressor, the Cyberball task, and to determine whether individual differences in depression, anxiety, and perceived social isolation moderate physiological stress responses. Methods: Sixty-four participants engaged in the Cyberball task while heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate were continuously measured. Results: Systolic (M = 121.61, SD = 13.34) and diastolic (M = 77.34, SD = 7.56) blood pressure increased significantly during the exclusion condition compared with the rest condition (M = 117.81, SD = 12.71, M = 75.63, SD = 7.39, respectively). Significant correlations were also found between social anxiety (r = −0.25) and depression (r = −0.25) scores with systolic blood pressure from the exclusion condition. Further, participants who reported high depression scores had attenuated cardiovascular responses to social exclusion. Conclusions: Overall, cardiovascular activity were elevated after a brief social stressor, but those with clinically relevant cut off scores on the CES-D had attenuated cardiovascular responses These findings support the growing body of literature surrounding cardiovascular stress reactivity to stress induced from social exclusion.

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