Background life stress, cardiovascular responses to laboratory stress, and health outcomes in adolescents and young adults with and without a history of functional abdominal pain
Shelby, Grace Deniece
Cardiovascular responses to acute stress have been examined for mediation and moderation of the stress-illness relation, but few studies of functional abdominal pain (FAP) have evaluated cardiovascular responses with none examining this factor in the relation of psychosocial stress and health outcomes. Adolescents and young adults (Mean age = 19.50, SD = 3.36) with a history of childhood FAP (n = 239) and healthy controls (n = 127) self-reported background life stress and health status (perceived general and mental health, somatic symptoms, functional disability). Cardiovascular response via blood pressure was assessed for two laboratory stressors. Results showed that individuals with a history of FAP in childhood had significantly higher background life stress and poorer health in adolescence and young adulthood. Childhood FAP demonstrated cardiovascular blunted reactivity and poorer recovery following laboratory stressors than healthy controls. Childhood FAP with low cardiovascular reactivity and higher background stress had poorer perceived general health compared with healthy controls. FAP is associated with a long-term vulnerability to stress and poorer health.