Repressive coping and blood lipids in men and women

R. Niaura, P. N. Herbert, N. McMahon, L. Sommerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies have suggested that a repressive coping style, characterized by defensiveness against negative emotions, may be related to several adverse health outcomes. This study examined whether repressive coping is associated with blood lipids, and whether this association is influenced by age or sex. One hundred fourteen healthy adults completed the Marlowe-Crowne scale (MC) and the Bendig version of the Taylor Manifest Anxiety scale (TMAS) prior to having their blood drawn after an overnight fast. Hierarchical regression analyses showed a significant interaction of sex, MC, and TMAS on total cholesterol (F(1, 104) = 4.41, p < 0.05), after controlling for the influence of age, body mass index, and other main effects and interactions. Results showed that male repressors (high MC; low TMAS) had the highest cholesterol levels, while truly low anxious males (low MC; low TMAS) had the lowest levels. The opposite pattern was noted for women. There were no interactive effects of age and coping style on lipids. The results suggest that males who repress negative emotions may be at greater risk for atherosclerotic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-706
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992


  • cholesterol
  • coping
  • gender
  • lipids
  • repression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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