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Lifetime stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol levels in post-menopausal women

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Lifetime stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol levels in post-menopausal women

Smith, Wendy (1997) Lifetime stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol levels in post-menopausal women. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Post-menopausal women are a unique group who may be at increased risk for the development of coronary heart disease. As such, more research is needed to understand the physiology of these women. This study had two purposes. The first was to assess the effects of past stress levels on blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and salivary cortisol excretion in post-menopausal women. The second purpose of this study was to examine the interactions between the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the cardiovascular system in these women. Two measures of past stress were examined in relation to BP, HR, and cortisol levels. The Concordia Lifetime Stress Graph (CLSG) provided a measure of lifetime stress, and scores on the Life Experiences Survey (LES) provided a measure of stress in the past year. Salivary cortisol levels, BP, and HR were examined both at baseline and in response to a laboratory stress test comprised of an anticipatory period, an oral defense, and a mental arithmetic task. Results indicated that neither stress experienced over the lifetime or over the past year was related to baseline or reactive BP, HR, or cortisol levels. Other results assessing the interaction between the HPA axis and the cardiovascular system indicated a negative relationship between cortisol reactivity and baseline BP. This negative relationship is inconsistent with previous findings of a positive relationship in younger men. The findings of this study suggest that past levels of stress in post-menopausal women do not influence current functioning of the HPA axis or the cardiovascular system. In addition, the relationship between the cardiovascular system and the HPA axis may be different in post-menopausal women than it is in younger men.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Smith, Wendy
Pagination:ix, 75 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Psychology
Date:1997
Thesis Supervisor(s):Chaikelson, June
ID Code:347
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:11
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:14
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