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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Patrice Saab

Second Committee Member

Neil Schneiderman

Third Committee Member

Alan Delamater


The association between cardiovascular reactivity and the metabolic syndrome, as well as individual metabolic syndrome criterion variables, was investigated in adolescents. Cardiovascular reactivity has been examined as a risk marker or factor in the pathogenesis of hypertension or cardiovascular disease, but few studies have looked at its relationship with the metabolic syndrome. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) cardiovascular reactivity to three tasks, evaluated speaking, mirror star tracing, and cold pressor, were assessed in 148 adolescents. Using the American Heart Association (AHA) adult definitional criteria, individuals were classified into metabolic syndrome groups (presence vs. absence of metabolic syndrome), and 16% of individuals met criteria for the metabolic syndrome. In logistic regression analyses, the occurrence of the metabolic syndrome was negatively associated with HR reactivity to the cold pressor (OR = 0.920, 95% CI = 0.873, 0.969), and positively associated with diastolic blood pressure (DBP) reactivity to the star tracing task (OR = 1.089, 95% CI = 1.008, 1.177). Results of multiple regression analyses that included individual metabolic syndrome risk variables indicated that cold pressor reactivity explained 7% of the variance in casual BP, while star tracing reactivity accounted for 7% of the variance waist circumference and 6% of the variance triglycerides (ps < .05). The findings indicate that cardiovascular reactivity to physical or behavioral challenge is associated with the metabolic syndrome in a sample of adolescents. Cardiovascular reactivity may be an important clinical tool for identifying individuals at risk of the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.


Cardiovascular Reactivity; Metabolic Syndrome; Adolescents