Social support as a moderator of cardiovascular reactivity in women: A test of the direct effects and buffering hypotheses

William Gerin, D'vorah Milner, Shalinee Chawla, Thomas G. Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the possibility that social support operates as a moderator of cardiovascular reactivity in women.Two models by which social support may operate were examined: The direct effects and buffering models. Twenty-six subjects were exposed to four conditions while playing a video game: two levels of stress (low, high) and two levels of social support (alone, together). Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored continuously. Ratings of stress were obtained for each condition. Results indicated that the support manipulation produced significant main effects for diastolic blood pressure and stress ratings, with lower diastolic blood pressure and ratings observed in the "together" condition, and that the interaction between support and stress produced lower reactivity for the cardiovascular measures in the high stress (but not the low stress) condition. No interaction was found for the stress ratings. We conclude that the results provide support for both the buffering and direct effects models. Implications concerning the (within-subjects) design of the study and the stress ratings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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