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Self-esteem Change and Diurnal Cortisol Secretion in Older Adulthood

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Self-esteem Change and Diurnal Cortisol Secretion in Older Adulthood

Liu, Sarah Y. (2014) Self-esteem Change and Diurnal Cortisol Secretion in Older Adulthood. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Research suggests that self-esteem can decline in older adulthood. This process could remove a buffer that normally protects individuals against distress-related changes in cortisol secretion. We examined this possibility by testing whether change in self- esteem would predict alterations in cortisol secretion, particularly among older adults who reported high levels of depressive symptoms or perceived stress. 147 older adults (Aged 60+) completed three days of diurnal cortisol measurements at three different time points, namely every two years over a total period of four years. Measures of self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress were assessed at T1 and T2. Potential demographic and health-related confounds were measured at baseline (partnership status, SES, mortality risk index, and medication). Linear regression models indicated that a decline in self-esteem from T1 to T2 predicted elevated cortisol output (AUCG) from T2 to T3, F (1, 137) = 8.09, ? = -.25, R2 = .05, p = .005. Interaction analyses revealed that this association was particularly strong among participants who experienced higher T1 or T2 levels of depressive symptoms or perceived stress, +1 SD: ?s = -.34 to -.51, ps < .001, but not significant among their counterparts who reported relatively lower levels of depressive symptoms or perceived stress, -1 SD: ?s = .03 to .11, ps > .43. Declines in self-esteem represent a mechanism that contributes to higher levels of diurnal cortisol secretion if older adults experience psychological distress. Increases in self-esteem, by contrast, can ameliorate older adults� cortisol regulation in stressful circumstances.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Liu, Sarah Y.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:25 February 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Wrosch, Carsten
ID Code:978352
Deposited By: SARAH LIU
Deposited On:25 Jun 2014 14:35
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46
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