Show Less
Restricted access

The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health


Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 2: Cardiovascular Reactivity in Social Interaction: Predictors and Consequences of Physiological Changes While Speaking in Everyday Life


| 33 →

Chapter 2

Cardiovascular Reactivity in Social Interaction: Predictors and Consequences of Physiological Changes While Speaking in Everyday Life

Charles H. Tardy

A substantial number of scientific studies indicate that significant changes occur throughout the nervous, cardiovascular, and hematological systems when people speak (Floyd & Afifi, 2011; Lynch, 1985; Matthews, Owens, Allen, & Stoney, 1992; Sawyer & Behnke, 2009; Steptoe, Hamer, & Chida, 2007). For example, pulse, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and cardiac output increase while changes also occur in ejection time, atrial wall movements, and vasculature (e.g., Krantz et al., 1991; Waldstein, Neuman, & Merrill, 1998). These changes occur not only when people speak in public to an audience but also occur when talking with friends, coworkers, and loved ones (e.g., Smith et al., 2009). They can occur even when people imagine interacting with others (Honeycutt, 2010). ← 33 | 34 →

These reactions have important implications for physical health and well-being. James Lynch said, “the responses of our hearts, blood vessels, and muscles when we communicate with spouse, children, friends, colleagues, and the larger community has as much to do with our cardiovascular health as do factors such as exercise or diet” (1985, p. 10). The belief that these changes may relate to cardiovascular disease has led many researchers to use speaking as a standard task in psychophysiological research. Hundreds of studies have used speaking tasks to provoke physiological changes.

A very few studies have linked speaking...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.