Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Scott Vrana


Past research has found inconsistent effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) status on cardiovascular responding. Inconsistencies may be explained by demographic differences in study samples. In this study, the influence of gender and ethnicity on the relationship between PTSD status and cardiovascular responding was explored. Participants’ (N = 245) heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) readings were taken throughout baseline and anger recall periods. For all gender by ethnicity groups, baseline HR was higher in participants with PTSD than without PTSD, except for Black men. Whites with PTSD had lower baseline SBP than Whites without PTSD; the opposite was true for Blacks. Men and Blacks with PTSD had larger HR increases during anger imagery than men and Blacks without PTSD, whereas women and Whites showed the opposite pattern. Results suggest demographic variables may account for inconsistent effects of PTSD on cardiovascular responding.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons