We have found that enhanced control has an attenuating effect on cardiovascular reactivity when effort of responding is maintained constant; however, not all individuals will react to increased control in the same manner.In the present study, 40 subjects engaged in a mental arithmetic task under high control (self-paced) and low control (externally paced) conditions. Subjects' self-efficacy concerning this task was assessed. As expected, significant main effects were found for control condition, with high control producing smaller blood pressure and heart rate changes than low control (11.4 vs. 20.4 mm Hg (systolic blood pressure), 4.4 vs. 11.4 mm Hg (diastolic blood pressure), and 6.2 vs. 7.9 beats per minute (heart rate)). No main effects were found for self-efficacy. However, the interaction between control and self-efficacy was significant for systolic blood pressure and heart rate and marginally significant for diastolic blood pressure; post hoc tests showed that this was due to the effect of self-efficacy classification under high control conditions; subjects with low self-efficacy for the mental arithmetic task evidenced cardiovascular changes that were significantly greater than those of the high self-efficacy group (8.0 vs. 14.8 mm Hg (systolic blood pressure), 2.7 vs. 6.1 mm Hg (diastolic blood pressure), and 5.2 vs. 7.1 beats per minute (heart rate). The data suggest that the reactivity observed during active coping is due in part to the effort of responding and in part to the match between the demands of the task and certain mastery-related attributes of the individual.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health