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Self-esteem change and diurnal cortisol secretion in older adulthood


Self-esteem change and diurnal cortisol secretion in older adulthood

Liu, Sarah Y., Wrosch, Carsten, Miller, Gregory E. and Pruessner, Jens C. (2013) Self-esteem change and diurnal cortisol secretion in older adulthood. Psychoneuroendocrinology . ISSN S0306-4530(13)00446-0 (In Press)

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Objective: 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. Methods: 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). Results: 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, β = -.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: βs = -.34 to -.51, ps < .001, but not significant among their counterparts who reported relatively lower levels of depressive symptoms or perceived stress, -1 SD: βs = .03 to .11, ps > .43. Conclusions: 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:Article
Authors:Liu, Sarah Y. and Wrosch, Carsten and Miller, Gregory E. and Pruessner, Jens C.
Journal or Publication:Psychoneuroendocrinology
Date:21 December 2013
  • Montreal Aging and Health Study (MAHS)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.12.010
Keywords:self-esteem; perceived stress; depressive symptoms; diurnal cortisol secretion; older adulthood.
ID Code:978120
Deposited By: SARAH LIU
Deposited On:06 Jan 2014 17:16
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46


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