Gelotophobia and indicators of subclinical cardiovascular symptoms amongst healthy subjects

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Miroslava Petkova
Valeri Nikolov
Emil Nikolov


The high morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) have led to an increasing extent of research into its aetiology. The main focus was initially on biological risk factors. Whilst these factors do account for half of the variances in cardiovascular disease risk, researchers have begun to focus on identifying the psychological and behavioural risk factors. Feeling socially excluded or rejected threatens people’s mental and physical well-being. Arterial stiffening may underlie the association between social rejection and cardiovascular disease. This study aims to investigate the associations between fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) as a sign of social rejection and indicators of subclinical cardiovascular symptoms—central arterial stiffness and to determine whether this association is independent of or mediated by anxiety. Methods: The demographic data (age, gender, education, marital status and occupation), smoking status and body weight were collected, and all the individuals were subjected to instrumental measurement of the condition of the arterial walls using applanation tonometry, EKG and blood pressure (BP) measurement. Data collection tools: A self-assessment questionnaire, measuring anxiety and gelotophobia, was used. Conclusions: In this study, individuals with a specific fear of being laughed at and ridiculed, who always perceive other persons’ laughter as a threat, showed the higher pulse wave velocity. This is a confirmation of the idea that social rejection is a significant factor for CVD and confirmation of the usefulness of the assessment of gelotophobia in the process of clarifying social rejection. Recommendation: The study results support the idea that the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) can be used as a sign and predictor of social rejection and social isolation. On this point, the future research can be addressed to the creation of interventions for social rejection relief and early detection and reduction of subclinical cardiovascular symptoms, before cardiovascular health problems develop.


Keywords: Arterial stiffening, gelotophobia, pulse wave velocity, social rejection.


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Petkova, M., Nikolov, V., & Nikolov, E. (2020). Gelotophobia and indicators of subclinical cardiovascular symptoms amongst healthy subjects. Global Journal of Psychology Research: New Trends and Issues, 10(1), 141-150.