Abstract This study examined the hypothesis of a covariation of cardiovascular and emotional responses in an aversive active coping situation. A letter detection task was presented to 40 male students. From a stream of letters moving across a screen, subjects were required to eliminate a specific letter. Control was manipulated by instruction. Half the subjects were led to believe that they could avoid an aversive tone, while the other group was led to believe that they could not avoid the tone. Increases in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse transit time were consistent with the prediction of higher sympathetic cardiovascular activation during active coping. Anxiety and anger were aroused under both conditions. Only for anxiety, there was an association between the physiological and affective responses. On the level of traits, subjects tending not to express their anger revealed higher activation. The results are discussed with respect to a possible relationship between the expression of anger and different parameters of cardiovascular reactivity.