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      Loneliness and Health: Potential Mechanisms :

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          Subjective, physiological, and behavioral effects of threat and challenge appraisal.

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            Autonomic cardiac control. III. Psychological stress and cardiac response in autonomic space as revealed by pharmacological blockades.

            Behavioral contexts can evoke a variety of autonomic modes of response, characterized by reciprocal, coactive, or independent changes in the autonomic divisions. In the present study, we investigated the reactive autonomic control of the heart in response to psychological stressors, using quantitative methods for analyzing single and double autonomic blockades, and through the use of noninvasive indices based on heart period variability and systolic time intervals. Analysis of the effects of pharmacological blockades revealed an overall pattern of increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic control of the heart during speech stress, mental arithmetic, and a reaction-time task. Unlike the classical reciprocal sympathetic-parasympathetic response to orthostatic challenge, however, the responses of the autonomic branches to stress were uncorrelated. This reflected notable individual differences in the mode of autonomic response to stress, which had considerable stability across stress tasks. The putative noninvasive indices of sympathetic (preejection period) and parasympathetic (respiratory sinus arrhythmia) control changed in accord with the results of pharmacological blockades. Together, these results emphasize the substantial individual differences in the mode of autonomic response to stress, the advantages of a quantitative approach to analyzing blockade data, and the importance of validity estimates of blockade data.
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              Loneliness and social skill deficits.

              The relationship between social skill deficits and the psychological state of loneliness was examined in two studies. Study 1 compared conversational behaviors of high-lonely and low-lonely college students during brief heterosexual interactions. Results indicated that the two loneliness groups differed significantly in their use of a specific class of conversational behaviors termed partner attention, with high-lonely as compared to low-lonely subjects giving less attention to their partners. Study 2 examined the casual relationship between social skill and loneliness by directly manipulating the use of partner attention in a group of high-lonely males. For that group, increased use of partner attention during dyadic interactions resulted in significantly greater change in loneliness and related variables relative to interaction only and no-contact control groups. The utility of conceptualizing loneliness as a social skills problem is discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Psychosomatic Medicine
                Psychosomatic Medicine
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                0033-3174
                2002
                May 2002
                : 64
                : 3
                : 407-417
                Article
                10.1097/00006842-200205000-00005
                12021415
                e97a4c53-1219-4a1a-8568-d1a3211caccd
                © 2002
                History

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