Blunted cardiovascular and cortisol reactivity to acute psychological stress: a summary of results from the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study

Susanne R de Rooij

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study is a large population based study of late middle aged, overall healthy men and women whose health has been followed from 50 to 65years of age. In a sample of 725 cohort members, an extensive psychological stress protocol was performed during which cardiovascular and cortisol responses were measured. In line with many previous studies, results showed that increased blood pressure responsiveness to the stress protocol was associated with an increased risk for hypertension 5years later. However, decreased cardiovascular and/or cortisol stress reactivity were associated with obesity and the risk of becoming obese, symptoms of depression and anxiety, a poor self-reported health, poor lung function, and poor cognitive function (all p for statistical tests<0.05). These associations generally survived adjustment for a range of potential confounders, including resting cardiovascular and cortisol activity, commitment to the stress tasks, sex, age, smoking and use of medication. Results from these studies agree with recent evidence that low biological reactivity to acute psychological stress may not always be beneficial for health but instead seems to be a marker for a range of negative health outcomes. Future studies have to point out whether low stress reactivity precedes or follows these negative health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Adiposity
  • Anthropometry
  • Anxiety
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Hypertension
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Starvation
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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