Cardiovascular responses to a laboratory stressor in women: Assessing the role of body awareness

M. Kathleen B. Lustyk, Haley A.C. Douglas, Jacob A. Bentley, Winslow G. Gerrish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Body awareness (BA) is characterised by a general tendency towards awareness and recognition of normal, non-emotive bodily processes and physical sensations. BA considers one's sensitivity towards and belief in how well they can sense, predict, and describe their bodily functions and sensations. This study investigated the role of BA in haemodynamic and anxiety responses to a laboratory stressor. Women (n=40) completed assessments of BA and state/trait anxiety. Women with low BA displayed higher blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) reactivity in response to the stressor than women with high BA. Delayed HR recovery poststressor was observed in women with low BA. BA was a significant predictor of haemodynamic reactivity over and above trait anxiety. BA effects on state anxiety were not observed. Thus, greater BA is associated with less haemodynamic stress reactivity in women lending further support for the development of BA interventions aimed at stress reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-70
Number of pages16
JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT)
  • anxiety
  • body awareness
  • cardiovascular reactivity
  • mindfulness
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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