Cardiovascular stress responses in young adulthood associated with family-of-origin relationship experiences

Linda Luecken, Anna P. Rodriguez, Bradley M. Appelhans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


Objective: The impact of relationships within the family-of-origin on the development of physiological stress responses has significant consequences for long-term vulnerability to stress-related illness. Methods: The current study evaluated systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate (HR) responses to a challenge task in 150 young adults from families characterized by parental loss, divorce, or intact marriages. Results: Overall, higher-quality family relationships were associated with stronger recovery of SBP. For DBP and HR, interactions were found in which higher-quality family relationships were associated with stronger recovery in the loss group relative to the divorce and intact groups. Good support was found for a mediational model outlining self-regulatory abilities as a pathway linking family relationships to SBP reactivity and recovery. Conclusions: Findings provide further evidence that family-of-origin relationship experiences can affect cardiovascular responses to later-life stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-521
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005



  • Blood pressure
  • Divorce
  • Family
  • Heart rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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