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See detailDepression, perceived control, and life satisfaction in university students from central-eastern and western Europe
Wardle, Jane; Steptoe, Andrew; Guliš, Gabriel et al

in International Journal of Behavioral Medicine (2004), 11

The poor health and psychological well-being of people in the former socialist states of Centeral-Eastern Europe are of serious concern and may be related to low perceived control. We compared depressive ... [more ▼]

The poor health and psychological well-being of people in the former socialist states of Centeral-Eastern Europe are of serious concern and may be related to low perceived control. We compared depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and self-rated health in 3,571 male and female university students from 5 Western European countries and 4,793 students from 5 Central-Eastern European countries. Depression scores (short Beck Depression Inventory; Beck & Beck, 1972) were higher in Central-Eastern than Western European samples. The prevalence of low life satisfaction was also greater in Central-Eastern Europeans, but ratings of self-rated health did not differ. Ratings of perceived control were diminished, but sense of mastery and internal health locus of control were higher in Central-Eastern Europe. Depression and low life satisfaction were associated with low perceived control and mastery and with strong beliefs in the influence of chance over health. However, taking these factors into account did not explain the East-West difference in depressive symptoms and low life satisfaction. [less ▲]

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See detailPsychophysiologic effects of applied tension on the emotional fainting response to blood and injury.
Vögele, Claus UL; Coles, Justine; Wardle, Jane et al

in Behaviour research and therapy (2003), 41

OBJECTIVE: The present study was designed to investigate the psychophysiologic effects of "Applied Tension" (AT) on the emotional fainting response to blood and injury in a controlled experiment. METHOD ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: The present study was designed to investigate the psychophysiologic effects of "Applied Tension" (AT) on the emotional fainting response to blood and injury in a controlled experiment. METHOD: Twenty-two persons reporting to generally feel faint or to have fainted at the sight of blood or injury and 22 participants classified as Non-Fainters were randomly allocated to a treatment or control condition. Psychophysiologic responses were continuously monitored while individuals watched a video depicting open-heart surgery and a control film. Prior to the surgery film, participants in the treatment condition were instructed in the use of AT. RESULTS: All participants classified as Fainters showed a diphasic response pattern while watching the surgery film. This response, however, was significantly attenuated in Fainters in the treatment condition. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that AT provides an effective treatment strategy for the prevention of fainting responses in persons with a fear of blood and injury. [less ▲]

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See detailTesticular self-examination: Attitudes and practices among young men in Europe
Wardle, Jane; Steptoe, Andrew; Burckhardt, Ruth et al

in Preventive Medicine (1994), 23

BACKGROUND: Testicular self examination (TSE) is recommended for the early detection of testicular cancer. Evidence from North America suggests there is only limited public awareness of its importance ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Testicular self examination (TSE) is recommended for the early detection of testicular cancer. Evidence from North America suggests there is only limited public awareness of its importance among the young male population. Compliance with regular TSE is found in only a small minority of young men. Attitudes toward and practice of TSE have rarely been studied outside North America. METHOD: Attitudes to TSE were evaluated by questionnaire in a sample of 16,486 students. Frequency of TSE practice was reported by the 7,304 men in the sample. The data were collected as part of the European Health Behavior Survey, an international study on health beliefs and health behavior. RESULTS: Eighty-seven percent of men reported never having practiced TSE. Regular practice (monthly) was reported by only 3% of the sample, with another 10% reporting occasional TSE. Significant differences emerged between countries, ranging from 76% of German men to 98% of Icelandic men reporting no TSE. Men rated TSE as less important to health than women. Attitude toward TSE among men was a significant predictor of TSE practice. CONCLUSION: Both the low levels of TSE and the low ratings of the importance of TSE suggest that young men in Europe are unaware of the value of this comparatively simple method of early detection of cancer. If a highly educated population group in the "at risk" age category is not carrying out the recommendations, it is unlikely that there are higher levels of compliance in other groups. These results suggest an important role for health education in the early detection of testicular cancer. [less ▲]

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See detailÄrger, Feindseligkeit und kardiovaskuläre Reaktivität: Implikationen für essentielle Hypertonie und koronare Herzkrankheit
Vögele, Claus UL; Steptoe, Andrew

in Hodapp, V.; Schwenkmezger, P. (Eds.) Ärger und Ärgerausdruck (1993)

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See detailÄrgerunterdrückung und Hypertonieprädisposition als Determinanten kardiovaskulärer Reaktivität
Vögele, Claus UL; Steptoe, Andrew

in Müller, M. (Ed.) Psychophysiologische Risikofaktoren bei Herz-/Kreislauferkrankungen: Grundlagen und Therapie (1993)

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See detailAnger inhibition and family history as modulators of cardiovascular responses to mental stress in adolescent boys
Vögele, Claus UL; Steptoe, Andrew

in Journal of Psychosomatic Research (1993), 37

Sixty boys aged 12-16 took part in an experiment in which physiological and subjective measures were obtained at rest and in response to mental arithmetic and mirror drawing tasks. Blood pressure was ... [more ▼]

Sixty boys aged 12-16 took part in an experiment in which physiological and subjective measures were obtained at rest and in response to mental arithmetic and mirror drawing tasks. Blood pressure was recorded from biological parents, and subjects were subsequently categorized as being at high family risk for cardiovascular disease if either parent had a history of coronary heart disease or hypertension, or a resting blood pressure > or = 140/85 mmHg. Twenty boys were classified as high family risk and forty as low risk. A significant interaction between family risk and a disposition towards anger inhibition was observed, with the greatest systolic blood pressure responses to tasks being recorded in high risk boys who reported high levels of anger inhibition. This effect was maintained after controlling for initial blood pressure level, age and body mass. The cardiac baroreceptor reflex was inhibited during tasks, and was lower in high than low family risk subjects. The results suggest that the tendency to inhibit anger expression interacts with familial factors in determining reactivity patterns that may be indicative of raised risk of future cardiovascular disease. [less ▲]

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See detailThe relationship between heart rate responsiveness in the laboratory and in the field: two studies
Johnston, Derek William; Vögele, Claus UL; Anastasiades, Pavlos et al

in Journal of Psychophysiology (1993), (7), 217-229

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See detailEmotion and Stress
Steptoe, Andrew; Vögele, Claus UL

in Weller, M.; Eysenck, M. (Eds.) The Scientific Basis of Psychiatry, 2 (1992)

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See detailIndividual differences in the perception of bodily sensations: The role of trait anxiety and coping style
Steptoe, Andrew; Vögele, Claus UL

in Behaviour research and therapy (1992), 30

Thirty young women participated in an experiment in which heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, skin conductance level and palmar sweat index were monitored at rest and during the administration ... [more ▼]

Thirty young women participated in an experiment in which heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, skin conductance level and palmar sweat index were monitored at rest and during the administration of mental arithmetic, mirror drawing and cold pressor tasks. The accuracy of perception of somatic states was estimated by calculating within-subject correlations between four bodily sensations (racing heart, high blood pressure, shortness of breath and sweaty hands) and corresponding physiological parameters, assessed on eight occasions during the experiment. The accuracy of heart rate perception was highest, with a mean correlation between actual heart rate and ratings of racing heart of 0.76 and 66% of participants showing significant within-subject effects. The mean accuracy was 0.55 for systolic blood pressure, 0.48 for respiration rate, 0.47 for skin conductance level, and 0.64 for palmar sweat index. Accurate perception across physiological parameters did not cluster within individuals, and was not dependent on the range either of physiological changes or sensation ratings. Trait anxiety was not significantly associated with accuracy of somatic perception. Subjects with high trait anxiety reported larger increases in shortness of breath during tasks than did low anxious subjects, but this was not reflected in objective physiological measures. Information-seeking coping style, indexed by the monitoring scale of the Miller Behavioral Style Scale, was related to the accuracy of perception of skin conductance level and heart rate. The use of within-subject correlational strategies for assessing individual differences in perception of bodily states is discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailEmotional coping and tonic blood pressure as determinants of cardiovascular reactions to mental stress
Vögele, Claus UL; Steptoe, Andrew

in Journal of Hypertension (1992), 10

OBJECTIVES: The aim was to assess the combined influence of biological risk for hypertension and patterns of emotional control upon cardiovascular responses to mental stress tests. DESIGN: The study ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVES: The aim was to assess the combined influence of biological risk for hypertension and patterns of emotional control upon cardiovascular responses to mental stress tests. DESIGN: The study involved the administration of mental stress tests in the laboratory, designed to elicit substantial blood pressure and heart rate responses accompanied by suppression of cardiac baroreflex sensitivity. METHODS: Thirty-seven young men were selected as being at relatively high or low risk through having high or low normal blood pressure. Blood pressure, recorded continuously using the Finapres, heart rate, cardiac baroreflex sensitivity, skin conductance and respiration rate were monitored at rest and during mental arithmetic and mirror drawing tasks. RESULTS: Hypertension risk category had no overall effect upon cardiovascular reactions to mental stress. Two dimensions of emotional coping were identified through factor analysis of psychological questionnaires--anxious emotional inhibition (ratings of trait anxiety, anger in and self-concealment), and anger experience and expression (ratings of trait anger and anger out). Subjects with high and low scores on these dimensions were equally represented in the two blood pressure risk categories. Hypertensive risk interacted with anxious emotional inhibition, with the greatest systolic blood pressure and heart rate responses (accompanied by cardiac baroreflex inhibition) being recorded in subjects at high risk coupled with high anxious emotional inhibition. Anger experience and expression did not interact with hypertension risk, but had a direct effect upon cardiovascular responses to mental stress. No differences were seen in skin conductance or respiratory responses, suggesting specific disturbances of cardiovascular regulation. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that normotensives at risk for future hypertension are likely to show heightened stress-related cardiovascular responses if they also tend to inhibit the expression of negative emotions. This pattern may be relevant to the postulated links between hypertension and emotional inhibition. [less ▲]

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See detailThe relationship between cardiovascular responses in the laboratory and in the field: the importance of Active Coping
Johnston, Derek William; Anastasiades, Pavlos; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Schmidt, Th.; Engel, B.; Blümchen, G. (Eds.) Temporal Variations of the Cardiovascular System (1992)

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See detailStress e disturbi cardiovasculari. Problemi metodologici nell'utilizo della tecnica dello stress mentale (Mental Stress Test)
Pruneti, Carlo A.; Vögele, Claus UL; Steptoe, Andrew

in Medicina Psicosomatica (1991), 36

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See detailThe methodology of mental stress testing in cardiovascular research.
Steptoe, Andrew; Vögele, Claus UL

in Circulation (1991), 83(Suppl II), 14-24

Many issues related to the selection, reliability, and validity of mental stress testing in cardiovascular research are discussed. Five categories of mental stress testing are distinguished: problem ... [more ▼]

Many issues related to the selection, reliability, and validity of mental stress testing in cardiovascular research are discussed. Five categories of mental stress testing are distinguished: problem-solving tasks, information-processing tasks, psychomotor tasks, affective conditions, and aversive or painful conditions. A series of practical and theoretical criteria are outlined for the selection of appropriate tests, and the measurement of a range of dependent variables is emphasized. The temporal stability of cardiovascular responses to mental stress tests is examined through an analysis of test-retest correlations (weighted for sample size) in 28 comparisons with intervals between sessions varying from 1 day to more than 1 year. Heart rate reactions to tasks show an average-weighted Z of 0.732 +/- 0.031 (r = 0.62), with Z = 0.575 +/- 0.034 (r = 0.52) for systolic blood pressure and Z = 0.313 +/- 0.035 (r = 0.30) for diastolic blood pressure. It is argued that the validity of mental stress tests can be judged in relation to several different aspects, specifically, methodological, ecological, diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic validities. The nature of these standards is described, and pertinent literature is presented. [less ▲]

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See detailCardiac baroreflex function during postural change using non-invasive spontaneous sequence analysis in young men.
Steptoe, Andrew; Vögele, Claus UL

in Cardiovascular Research (1990), 24

STUDY OBJECTIVE: The aim was to assess the value of baroreflex sensitivity estimates calculated from analyses of spontaneous systolic blood pressure and pulse interval sequences derived from continuous ... [more ▼]

STUDY OBJECTIVE: The aim was to assess the value of baroreflex sensitivity estimates calculated from analyses of spontaneous systolic blood pressure and pulse interval sequences derived from continuous non-invasive finger blood pressure recordings during sitting and active standing. DESIGN: Continuous recordings of digital systolic blood pressure and pulse interval were obtained non-invasively using a Finapres FD5 during 5 min trials of sitting and standing. SUBJECTS: Subjects were healthy males aged 19-28, divided into those with "high" normal (n = 18) and "low" normal (n = 17) blood pressure. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Recordings were scanned for spontaneous sequences of three or more cardiac cycles over which systolic blood pressure increased progressively in conjunction with prolonged pulse interval, or decreased while pulse interval became shorter. Regressions between blood pressure and pulse interval (r greater than 0.80) provided estimates of cardiac baroreceptor reflex control. Computations were carried out with concurrent blood pressure and pulse interval measurements, and with a delay or lag of one and two cycles between the two variables. Pulse interval was reduced from an average 870.3 ms sitting to 571.3 ms on standing. Mean baroreflex sensitivity while sitting averaged 17.5 ms.mm Hg-1 at a delay of one cycle, failing to 7.65 ms.mm Hg-1 with standing. The decrease in sensitivity was correlated with the change in pulse interval between trials. The number of sequences was also significantly reduced with standing as opposed to sitting. Three cycle sequences were most frequent, with a lesser number of sequences involving 4, 5, and 6 or more cycles. No significant differences between "high" and "low" normal blood pressure groups were observed. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis of spontaneous sequences from non-invasive recordings may provide useful information concerning cardiac baroreflex control in different postural and behavioural states. A lag of one cycle between systolic blood pressure and pulse interval may provide the most representative estimates of baroreflex sensitivity. [less ▲]

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See detailPhysiological and subjective stress responses in surgical patients.
Vögele, Claus UL; Steptoe, Andrew

in Journal of Psychosomatic Research (1986), 30

Autonomic responses, mood and psychological coping were assessed in two groups of orthopaedic patients during hospitalisation for major or minor surgery. Eight patients admitted for total hip replacement ... [more ▼]

Autonomic responses, mood and psychological coping were assessed in two groups of orthopaedic patients during hospitalisation for major or minor surgery. Eight patients admitted for total hip replacement and seven patients undergoing knee arthroscopy were seen daily for two days before surgery until discharged from hospital. Mood and coping questionnaires were administered on each session, while pain, heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance level, palmar sweat prints and forearm EMG were also recorded. Heart rate increased from pre- to post-operative assessments, while skin conductance and palmar sweating fell to low levels on the days immediately following surgery, returning to basal values only after several days. Self ratings of anxiety, fatigue, depression and pain were highest on the immediate post-operative days. Patients utilised the coping factors Rational Cognition and Behavioural Action to the greatest extent, but ratings on coping factors fluctuated little over the study period. The interrelations between these measures and possible explanations of the results are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailAre stress responses influenced by cognitive appraisal? An experimental comparison of coping strategies.
Steptoe, Andrew; Vögele, Claus UL

in British Journal of Psychology (1986), 77

An investigation of the role of cognitive appraisal in emotional responses was carried out, in which psychological and physiological reactions to a distressing film were recorded in three groups of ... [more ▼]

An investigation of the role of cognitive appraisal in emotional responses was carried out, in which psychological and physiological reactions to a distressing film were recorded in three groups of volunteers. Subjects in the intellectualization condition were given instructions to appraise the film in a detached, analytic fashion. The sensation-focusing group were asked to focus on physical sensations and to experience them fully, and controls were given no specific instructions. Heart rate, skin conductance and respiration rate were monitored continuously, while ratings of psychological distress and physical sensations were collected periodically. No significant differences were found in the subjective or physiological reactions of the intellectualization and control groups, thus failing to replicate previous reports. Sensation focusing led to a diminution of cardiac and electrodermal reactions, but did not affect subjective experience. Limitations to the concept of cognitive appraisal are suggested, while explanations of the results are offered in terms of external vs. internal deployment of attention, and desynchrony of emotional responses. [less ▲]

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