Relation of family history to stress reactions during appetitive and aversive challenges

Rebecca Lorena Palacios, University of Texas at El Paso


The present study examined the relation of FH of cardiovascular disease to resting blood pressure and multidimensional responses to stress including cognitive appraisals, affective responses, state related measures of appetitive and aversive motivation, and cardiovascular reactivity among Mexican Americans during clearly appetitive, clearly aversive, and combined appetitive/aversive stress tasks. Hypotheses were based on review of existing literature and in part on a pilot study examining Mexican Americans’ stress responses which suggested that FH+ Mexican Americans may be predisposed toward greater BAS sensitivity whereas FH- Mexican Americans may be predisposed toward greater BIS sensitivity. The specific aims of this study were to examine the relationship of FH in Mexican Americans to (a) baseline cardiovascular activity, (b) stress-related cardiovascular reactivity, (c) BIS and BAS tendencies during appetitive, aversive and combined appetitive/aversive stress situations, and (d) generalization of BIS and BAS response tendencies across tasks of differing in motivational orientation. Results indicated that FH+ individuals exhibited greater DBP and lower SV at rest, results that were attributable to higher TPR at rest, than FH- individuals. This finding suggests early development of sustained hypertension among this group. The results from the state-related measures of BIS and BAS activation, appraisal data, and intercorrelations of HR, PEP, and TPR task reactivity supported the hypothesis that FH+ Mexican Americans respond to stress with greater Appetitive tendencies compared to FH- Mexican Americans, and that these tendencies generalize across tasks differing in motivational orientation. Implications for future research are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Hispanic American Studies|Psychology, Physiological

Recommended Citation

Palacios, Rebecca Lorena, "Relation of family history to stress reactions during appetitive and aversive challenges" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3242132.