Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William F. Waters


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between emotion and blood pressure levels and variability for 80 Caucasian subjects between the ages of 30 and 65 matched on gender. The subjects were divided into four groups: normotensives, untreated borderline essential hypertensives, treated mild essential hypertensives, and Type II diabetic hypertensives. Subjects completed five psychological measures: the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI); State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-trait anxiety (STAI-Tanx); State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-trait anger (STAXI-Tang); the ratio of anger-in to anger-out (STAXI-IO); and the Autonomic Nervous System Response Inventory (ANSRI). Subjects then recorded their home blood pressures seven times throughout the day for a three day period with the use of portable blood pressure monitors. Analysis showed that the four groups differed significantly in their overall scores on the five measures combined. However, further analysis found no significant differences between the groups when the measures were examined individually. Similarly, differences were found between Type II Diabetic Hypertensives and Essential Hypertensives on the five measures combined, but no differences were found when the measures were individually analyzed. Differences were also found between home and office blood pressure readings, with home readings found to be uniformly lower, with exception of the borderline essential hypertensive group which had higher systolic readings at home. No correlations were found between the five psychological measures and blood pressure readings taken at home, or between scores on the psychological measures and the differences between home and office readings. Further research is needed to delineate the relationship between hypertension and emotional factors.