Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Stress Test

  • Jet Veldhuijzen van ZantenEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_496-2



Laboratory mental stress tasks are commonly used in behavioral medicine to assess the physiological responses to a standardized stressor in a controlled setting (Turner 1994).


Even though originally it was thought that particularly exaggerated physiological responses to mental stress can be predictive of cardiovascular disease (Obrist 1981), there is now growing evidence that blunted physiological responses can also be associated with poor health (Carroll et al. 2009). Other evidence is available that not the responses to mental stress itself but the physiological recovery upon completion of the stress task can be related with the poor health outcomes (Larsen and Cristenfeld 2011). There is a large body of research that explores the associations between psychological traits (e.g., competitiveness and hostility) and mental disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) with the individual...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Carroll, D., Lovallo, W. R., & Phillips, A. C. (2009). Are large physiological reactions to acute psychological stress always bad for health? Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 725–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kirschbaum, C., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’ – A tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology, 28, 76–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Larsen, B. A., & Cristenfeld, N. J. (2011). Cognitive distancing, cognitive restructuring, and cardiovascular recovery from stress. Biological Psychology, 86, 143–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lovallo, W. R. (1997). Stress & health, biological and psychological interactions. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Obrist, P. A. (1981). Cardiovascular psychophysiology: A perspective. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Steptoe, A., Hamer, M., & Chida, Y. (2007). The effects of acute psychological stress on circulating inflammatory factors in humans: A review and meta-analysis. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 21, 901–912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Strike, P. C., & Steptoe, A. (2003). Systematic review of mental stress-induced myocardial ischaemia. European Heart Journal, 24, 690–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Stroop, J. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Turner, J. R. (1994). Cardiovascular reactivity and stress. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Van Eck, M. M., Nicolson, N. A., Berkhof, H., & Sulon, J. (1996). Individual differences in cortisol responses to a laboratory speech task and their relationship to responses to stressful daily events. Biological Psychology, 43, 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J. J. C. S., Ring, C., Burns, V. E., Edwards, K. M., Drayson, M., & Carroll, D. (2004). Mental stress-induced hemoconcentration: Sex differences and mechanisms. Psychophysiology, 41, 541–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesThe University of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK