Active coping remains a poorly understood construct in cardiovascular reactivity testing. We have shown that active coping comprises two independent effects: the enhanced control and the effort of exercising control. The present study tested the proposition that, with effort left unconstrained, increased self-efficacy will increase cardiovascular response. Forty women were assigned to low or high self-efficacy conditions; self-efficacy was manipulated using false feedback. Subjects then engaged in a video game shape-matching task, while blood pressure and heart rate were monitored. SBP and DBP changes were smaller in the low self-efficacy group, as predicted: 17.9 versus 25.2 mmHG for SBP (p<0.05); and 8.7 versus 13.0 mmHG for DBP (p = 0.07). Heart rate was similar for the two conditions. We conclude that self-efficacy for a task may be an integral part of the active coping process, indirectly affecting the blood pressure response by acting on the effort involved in the coping response.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health