Assessing cardiovascular reactivity in working women with the social competence interview

Barbara Curbow, Karen A. McDonnell, Erin Dreyling, Alyson Hall, Sheila Fitzgerald, Craig K. Ewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Social Competence Interview (SCI), an interview to induce cardiovascular reactivity through recounting a stressful life experience, was used with a sample of 120 working women employed as childcare providers. Women recounted their most stressful work factor while cardiovascular reactions were monitored at 2-minute intervals (data points included 4 baseline, 6 SCI, and 3 recovery). Increases were found when comparing mean baseline and SCI measures: systolic blood pressure (SBP) increased 10.00 mm Hg; diastolic blood pressure (DBP) increased 10.63 mm Hg; and heart rate increased 4.57 beats per minute. Consistent with the literature SBP and DBP were higher for some subgroups of women (those who were 50 years or older, were obese, or had 4 or more risk factors) across all data points. There were no time by individual difference interactions, indicating that the patterns of change over time were the same across groups. In a logistic regression, comparing women who reached SBP ≥ 140 mm Hg and/or DBP ≥ 90 mm Hg during the SCI versus those who did not, higher BP was associated with being older and obese, having a higher level of acceptance coping, and a lower level of suppression of competing activities coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages18
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Childcare providers
  • Coping
  • Occupational stress
  • Social Competence Interview
  • Working women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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