The literature on essential hypertension is replete with instances of temporal correlations between psychological events during an interview and levels of blood pressure. Because repetitive pressor episodes induced by many agents may be related to the development of sustained high arterial pressures, it is important to establish the nature of the relationship, its regularity, and magnitude. Much of the previously published evidence suffers from a number of shortcomings.
1. A common failing is the lack of systematic sampling of blood pressures. The blood pressure has not always been recorded frequently over the entire course of an interview according to a prearranged schedule. Typically, in the so-called stressful interview, a topic known to be disturbing to the subject is introduced and a few blood pressures recorded at selected times. The stress pressures are then compared with the levels obtained during the discussion