Coping with stress and hypertension-mediated organ damage
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Department of Psychotherapy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Lenartowicza 14, Kraków, Poland
Department of Internal Medicine and Gerontology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Śniadeckich 10, Kraków, Poland
University Hospital in Kraków, Kopernika 36, Kraków, Poland
Lech Popiołek   

Department of Psychotherapy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Lenartowicza 14, Kraków, Poland
Submission date: 2019-01-25
Final revision date: 2019-04-05
Acceptance date: 2019-04-20
Online publication date: 2019-05-23
Publication date: 2019-05-23
Arch Psych Psych 2019;21(4):27–36
Aim of the study:
Chronic exposure to high blood pressure may lead to the development of hypertension-mediated organ damage (HMOD). This study compares styles and strategies of coping with stress in hypertensive patients with arterial stiffness or left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and in individuals with hypertension, but without HMOD.

Subject or material and methods:
Each study participant (n=93) underwent the following procedures: clinical assessment, echocardiography, pulse wave velocity measurement and psychological testing. Blood pressure in the study group was measured using ABPM method. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) was assessed to identify patients with arterial stiffness. Left ventricular mass index was measured to diagnose LVH. Each patient was also assessed using three psychometric tools: PSS-10, CISS and Brief COPE.

Subjects with arterial stiffness (increased PWV) scored significantly lower than patients with normal PWV in three scales: CISS Avoidance-oriented coping (39 vs. 41.5; p=0.042), Brief COPE Self-distraction (1.5 vs. 2; p=0.013) and Brief COPE Venting (1 vs. 1.5; p=0.037). Individuals with LVH had significantly lower results in Brief COPE scale Use of emotional support scale than hypertensive subjects with normal values of left ventricular mass index (1.5 vs. 2; p=0.041).

In our study group hypertensive patients with HMOD preferred different coping styles and strategies than individuals with hypertension, but without vascular and cardiac damage. It is possible that some coping styles and strategies may moderate the risk of HMOD.

HMOD may be associated with coping styles and strategies, but future research in this field is necessary to fully understand results of this study.