Psychological risk and protective factors in people with hypertension

Vanja Kopilaš, Lovorka Brajković, Dora Korać


Backgrounds: Hypertension is a leading cardiovascular risk factor whose prevalence in global population doubled in the last 30 years. In addition to lifestyle and genetic factors, it can be caused or exacerbated by certain psychological factors. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between resilience, coping strategies, emotional regulation and control and associated aspects of health status in people diagnosed with hypertension. 

Methods and Measures: The study was conducted on 203 participants during their visit in the private clinic. Participants were mostly males (56.7%), and the mean age was 66 years (SD = 10.04). A structured protocol consisted of sociodemographic data, Brief Resilience Scale, Emotional Regulation and Control Questionnaire and Defense Style Questionnaire.    

Results: Our findings showed that female participants, participants with other health problems in addition to hypertension, participants with heart attack history and those who do not engage in physical activity and rarely consume alcohol have less stress resistance. Men and frequent alcohol consumers are less prone to neurotic defense mechanism. Emotional regulation and neurotic defense mechanisms appear to be negative predictors of stress resilience, while mature defense style is strong, positive predictor.

Conclusion: Indication of significant relationship between certain aspects of health status and resistance to stress, defense mechanisms and emotional regulation was found. The study outcomes suggest an important role of defense mechanisms and emotional regulation in stress resilience which can contribute to improved stress resistance and health outcomes in people with hypertension.


Hypertension; Stress resilience; Defense mechanisms; Emotional regulation and control.

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