Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Serina A. Neumann

Committee Director

John D. Ball

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez

Committee Member

Richard Handel

Committee Member

J. Catesby Ware


Cardiovascular reactivity and recovery following an emotional stressor may play a crucial role in mediating the relation between psychosocial factors (e.g. hostility and anger) and cardiovascular disease. Hostility has been associated with trait rumination. Trait rumination, a tendency to focus attention on negative thoughts and emotions and be prone to feelings of revenge, is not adequately captured in current measures of hostility. The current study examined whether trait rumination, indexed by the Dissipation-Rumination Scale, has an independent effect of increasing cardiovascular reactivity and prolonging cardiovascular recovery from angry events above and beyond hostility as measured by the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale. The effect of distraction on cardiovascular recovery from anger recall was also examined. Diastolic and systolic blood pressure (DBP; SBP), heart rate (HR), high and low frequency heart rate variability (HF; LF), preejection period (PEP), stroke index (SI), cardiac index (CI) and total peripheral resistance index (TPR) were collected from 80 healthy women (ages 18–30) during a 15-min baseline, a 3-min anger recall, and a 10-min recovery. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to a distraction condition (i.e. reading a neutral article) during recovery. Hierarchical regressions, controlling for hostility scores, revealed that trait rumination was predictive of increased SI (p pppp


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.