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Ageing, depression, anxiety, social support and the diurnal rhythm and awakening response of salivary cortisol

Heaney, Jennifer L.J. and Phillips, Anna C. and Carroll, Douglas (2010) Ageing, depression, anxiety, social support and the diurnal rhythm and awakening response of salivary cortisol. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 78 (3). pp. 201-208. ISSN 01678760

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2010.07.009

Identification Number/DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2010.07.009

The present study compared the cortisol awakening response and diurnal rhythm in 24 young healthy students and 48 community-dwelling older adults. The associations with diurnal cortisol and depression, anxiety and social support were also examined in relation to age. Salivary cortisol was measured over the course of one day: immediately upon awakening, 30 min later, and then 3 h, 6 h, 9 h and 12 h post-awakening. Participants completed a questionnaire measuring symptoms of anxiety and depression and social support was assessed. Older adults exhibited a significantly reduced awakening response, overall cortisol levels, area under the curve (AUC) and diurnal slopes than younger adults, resulting in a flatter diurnal rhythm. Younger adults with higher depression scores had significantly higher overall cortisol and higher levels upon awakening and 30 min post-awakening. In the younger adults, anxiety and depression correlated positively with AUC and the cortisol awakening response (CAR). Older adults with lower social support had a reduced AUC where younger adults with lower social support displayed a larger AUC. These findings suggest that the diurnal rhythm and awakening response of salivary cortisol are significantly reduced in older adults and the associations between anxiety, depression and social support and diurnal cortisol vary with age.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2010 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
GV Recreation Leisure
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Elsevier
ID Code:1223
Refereed:YES
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