The effects of social context and defensiveness on the physiological responses of repressive copers

Steven D. Barger, John C. Kircher, Robert T. Croyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


In previous research (T. L. Newton & R. J. Contrada, 1992), social context was found to moderate exaggerated physiological reactivity among individuals identified as using a repressive coping style. In this experiment, 119 undergraduates were classified into low-anxious, high-anxious, repressor, and defensive high-anxious coping categories. All participants completed a stressful speech task under either a public or private social context condition. The experimental social context was related to physiological reactivity and self-reported affect but did not moderate reactivity among repressive copers. Additionally, reactivity among repressive copers was not attributable to high defensiveness alone. Consistent with a theory of emotional inhibition, nonspecific skin conductance responses, but not heart rate, discriminated between repressors and nonrepressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1128
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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