Gender Studies     



CBM Research Training Program


Gender Studies

Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center (PMBC)

SWAN Study

Faculty & Staff

Home Page



Since the early 1980's we have been actively engaged in studies of both men and women. The goal of our research effect has been to better understand the gender differences in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. We are interested in understanding the extent to which gender differences exist in peoples response to acute and chronic stress. To that end we have conducted both laboratory studies and field studies measuring cardiovascular reactivity to standard laboratory stressors and to stressors occurring in every day life. We have reliably shown that men respond with higher blood pressure response, and women with higher heart rate responses.


We then extended this line of research to looking at the effects of different levels of endogenous reproductive hormones on stress responses among women, and then to the effects of altering reproductive hormone levels using pharmacologic interventions. Most recently we have begun to look at measures of subclinical disease, such as carotid atherosclerosis, altered endothelial functioning and coronary artery calcium in an attempt to identify earlier markers and correlates for the beginnings of atherosclerosis.


Our efforts are largely multidisciplinary.  We work closely with the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, Magee Womens Hospital, the Department of Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Departments of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

In 1999, we were awarded a Center grant for the study of Mind-Body Interactions. The Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center is a joint effort between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University and the study to be conducted in our laboratory is described in further detail on the PMBC website.