Email and blood pressure

For those who're wondering about email and potential physiological consequences... TAYLOR Howard, FIELDMAN George et LAHLOU Saadi, "The impact of a threatening e-mail reprimand on the recipient's blood pressure", Journal of Managerial Psychology, January 2005, vol. 20, n°. 1, p. 43-50.

Purpose - This article aims to describe the effects of the communication style of the message sender (threatening or neutral), status of the sender (equal to or higher than the recipient) and the power relationship between sender and recipient (from the same department or not) on the blood pressure of the recipient of an e-mail message

Design/methodology/approach - The study was conducted under controlled laboratory conditions. The experiment was a mixed design, using both within and between subjects variables. The independent variable for the within subjects factor was the task that participants performed. There were three tasks: answering a questionnaire, reading a non-threateningly worded e-mail reprimand, and reading a threateningly worded e-mail reprimand. Although the study used students as participants, the messages they received were from real people in a University College. Discusses the implications in the area of occupational health.

Findings - Diastolic blood pressure was significantly higher when recipients were reading the threateningly worded reprimand compared to reading a non-threateningly worded reprimand. The effect of status on blood pressure was significant but only for recipients in the same department as the message sender. Originality/value

The results add to the evidence that communication style and status can have a direct impact on the recipient's physiological response.