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Relationships between some psychological assessments, body-build, and physiological stress responses
  1. P. K. Bridges,
  2. M. T. Jones
  1. Regional Neurosurgical Centre, Brook General Hospital, Shooters Hill Road, London
  2. Sherrington School of Physiology, St. Thomas's Hospital, London

    Abstract

    A number of physiological responses to the psychological stress of an oral academic examination were observed, including heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, urinary 17-oxogenic steroid excretion, and plasma corticosteroid concentration. The results were related to body-build and to four psychological tests: Eysenck Personality Inventory, Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, IPAT Anxiety Scale, and Stimulus-Response Inventory. No significant associations were found between the psychological test results and anticipatory physiological activity just before the examination began, including excretion of 17-oxogenic steroids. Respiration rate was not increased by anticipatory stress, unlike the other variables, which were significantly higher than control values taken under resting conditions three months later. The students of primarily linear physique had significantly higher plasma corticosteroid values than the predominantly muscular subjects at the time of the examination, as found previously. They also had significantly higher analogue measures of the degree of anxiety experienced at the examination (assessed both by the subject and by an observer). Therefore, linear subjects appear to experience more anxiety than muscular students in a similar situation of psychological stress. Both the IPAT Scale and S-R Inventory results were significantly higher for the linear group but there were no significant differences for the EPI and TMAS scores, as used in previous studies. The importance of constitutional factors associated with body-build in relation to at least some aspects of personality is strongly suggested by the findings.

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