The role of affect and rumination in cardiovascular recovery from stress

Mirjam Radstaak*, Sabine A.E. Geurts, Jos F. Brosschot, Antonius H.N. Cillessen, Michiel A.J. Kompier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the psychological processes that may impede or facilitate cardiovascular recovery. It was hypothesized that cardiovascular recovery would be hampered by negative affect and rumination, and facilitated by positive affect. In an experimental study, stress was elicited by exposing participants (N= 110) to a mental arithmetic task with harassment. After the stress task, affective levels were manipulated via a movie scene with negative, neutral, or positive emotional valence, or without an affect manipulation (control condition). During the entire experiment, heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were measured continuously. Results indicated that blood pressure recovery was hampered by the negative affect manipulation and by rumination. However, the positive affect manipulation did not facilitate blood pressure recovery. No effects were found on heart rate recovery. In sum, the findings emphasize the importance of negative affect and rumination in stress recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of psychophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Negative affect
  • Perseverative cognition
  • Positive affect
  • Stress recovery
  • n/a OA procedure


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