Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy


The concept of Type A coronary-prone behavior underscores the unique relationship between a specific constellation of biobehavioral events and the pathogenesis of coronary illness. The principle purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether exaggerated arousal in Type As could be successfully modified as a function of biobehavioral feedback. Twenty-seven males with minimum JAS A-B total scores of 75% were initially exposed to two conditions of behavioral challenge emphasizing time pressure and competition stress. Results indicated that both types of challenge were associated with significant increases in multiple indices of autonomic arousal (multi-site EMG, skin temperature, pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure) but with differentially greater increases in systolic blood pressure. These results were also accompanied by marked and consistent elevations in self-report measures of anxiety and hostility. During the training phase, subjects were stratified on the basis of their JAS scores and randomly assigned to either (1) multi-site EMG biofeedback, (2) frontal EMG biofeedback, or (3) waiting list control. Analysis of the training data indicated that subjects in both feedback conditions exhibited significant but comparable reductions in measures of EMG activity. Multi-site EMG biofeedback was no more effective than frontal EMG biofeedback in reducing training measures of cardiovascular and self-reported arousal. Re-exposure to behavioral challenge examined differences in the stress attenuation features of the two feedback interventions. Results revealed that multi-site EMG biofeedback was significantly more effective than the two comparison conditions in reducing EMG activity, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and anxiety under time pressure stress but not competition stress. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access