Keynote Speaker

Douglas Carroll

School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK

Following a BSc in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, Douglas Carroll completed his PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra. He was then a research fellow, lecturer and senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. In 1990, he left to become Professor of Psychology and Head of the Department of Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, returning in 1995 to Birmingham to become Professor of Applied Psychology in the School. His major research interest are in Health Psychology and Cardiovascular Psychophysiology.

In 2002, he received worldwide media attention following the publication of his research in the British Medical Journal showing that England’s participation in a penalty shoot-out at the 1998 World Cup triggered a 25% increase in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction.  He has authored or edited five books, including Health Psychology: Stress, Behaviour and Disease, The Health Psychology of Women (with Professor Catherine Niven), and Psychology and Social Issues (with Professor Ray Cochrane), and has published over 150 journal articles and book chapters.  Professor Carroll was the Editor of the British Journal of Health Psychology and also serves on the editorial board of Psychophysiology.  He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Society of Behavioural Medicine (USA).

Douglas Carroll’s personal webpage at the University of Birmingham


Douglas Carroll’s Keynote Address takes place on Friday, 6 August 2010, from 16:20 to 17:20.

Chronic and Acute Stress: Their Varying Effects on Inflammatory and Infectious Disease
There is abundant evidence that chronic psychological stress exposure has wide-ranging adverse health consequencies.  For example, such exposures are associated with increased susceptibility to both inflammatory cardiovascular disease and infectious disease.  Acute psychological stress exposure and how we react to it biologically would appear to have much more variable effects on health.  For example, exaggerated cardiovascular reactions to acute stress are predictive of elevated blood pressure, markers of systemic atherosclerosis, and left ventricular mass.  Acute stress exposure and exaggerated reactivity, however, are also related to an enhanced antibody response to medical vaccination, suggesting better host defense.  Further, there is emerging evidence that blunted, not exaggerated, cardiovascular reactions to acute stress are related to poorer self-reported health, obesity, and depression.  Finally, blunted cardiovascular and cortisol reactions to acute stress would appear to be characteristic of people with an alcohol or a tobacco dependence, as well as being typical of those are at risk of becoming dependent. Clearly, we need a new and more complex conceptualisation of acute stress, our reactions to it, and their implications for behaviour and health.

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