Funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years, I have focused on neuroendocrine mechanisms that contribute to exaggerated blood pressure reactions during stress. I have studied stress and blood pressure control in young adults at risk for hypertension, pregnant women, animal models of circulatory function, chronic pain patients, and postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy. Over the years, I have examined the role of endorphins and enkephalins in sympathetic nervous system function, pain sensitivity, relaxation therapy and aerobic fitness. I am interested in responses to laboratory stressors as well as reactions to naturally occurring occupational and psychosocial stressors. Most recently, I have discovered that persons with elevated blood pressure have emotional dampening, and are less able to perceive and respond to emotional content, such as facial expressions, text narratives, and photographic scenes with emotionally meaningful content.
McCubbin, J.A., Loveless, J.P., Graham, J.G., Hall, G.A., Bart, R.M., Moore, D.D., Merritt, M.M., Lane, R.D., Thayer, J.F. Emotional dampening in persons with elevated blood pressure: Affect dysregulation and risk for hypertension. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 47:111-119, 2014, DOI: 10.1007/s12160-013-9526-2, http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12160-013-9526-2/fulltext.html
Allen, A.J., McCubbin, J.A., Loveless, J.P. and Helfer, S.G. Effects of estrogen and opioid blockade on blood pressure reactivity to stress in postmenopausal women. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2012. DOI 10.1007/s10865-012-9468-3, http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s10865-012-9468-3
McCubbin, J.A. Endogenous opioids/Endorphins/Enkephalin. In Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine, Gellman, G . and Turner, R. (Eds). In press, 2013, LXXVIII. ISBN 978-1-4419-1004-2.
Pilcher, J. J., Burnett, M. L., & McCubbin, J. A. Measurement of Sleep and Sleepiness. In M. Wang, R. R. Sinclair, & L. Tetrick (eds.), Research Methods in Occupational Health Psychology: State of the Art in Measurement, Design, and Data Analysis, Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis, 2012.
McCubbin, J.A., Peach, H., Moore, D.D. and Pilcher, J.J. Decreased cognitive/CNS function in young adults at risk for hypertension: Effects of sleep deprivation. International Journal of Hypertension, Volume 2012, Article ID 989345, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijht/2012/989345/, 2012, doi:10.1155/2012/989345.
McCubbin, J.A., Merritt, M.M., Sollers, J.J., Evans, M.K., Zonderman, A.B., Lane, R.D., Thayer, J.F. Cardiovascular emotional dampening: Blood pressure and recognition of emotion. Psychosomatic Medicine, 73(9), 743-750, 2011, doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e318235ed55. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210914/
McCubbin, J.A., Pilcher, J.J, Moore, D.D. Blood pressure increases during a simulated night shift in persons at risk for hypertension. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17, 314-20, 2010. PMID: 20878512.
Vincent, E., Battisto, D., Grimes, L. and McCubbin, J.A. Effects of nature images on pain in a simulated hospital patient room. Health Environments Research and Design Journal, 3m 42-55, 2010.
McCubbin, J.A. Prenatal maternal stress hormones, risk for hypertension, and the neonatal pain response: Comment on France et al., ‘‘Maternal family history of hypertension attenuates neonatal pain response”. Pain, 142, 173-4, 2009.
McClelland, L.E. and McCubbin, J.A. Social influence and pain response in men and women. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(5), 413-420, 2008.