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International Journal of Behavioral Medicine


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High resting blood pressure is associated with decreased pain sensitivity. This study was designed to explore this relation in young, normotensive men and women. Twenty-nine women (mean age 19.1, range 18–29) and 26 men (mean age 19.3, range 18–25) rested for 10 min while systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressures were measured. They were then asked to complete a 2-min cold pressor task. Participants were asked to fill out the short form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire immediately after the pain task. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to predict pain sensitivity from resting blood pressure, gender, and the interaction of resting blood pressure and gender. Resting systolic blood pressure was a significant predictor of pain sensitivity. Gender and the interaction between resting blood pressure and gender were not related to pain sensitivity. This suggests that the relation between resting blood pressure and pain sensitivity may be similar in men and women, at least in response to a cold pressor challenge.


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