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Cardiovascular and cortisol reactions to acute psychological stress and cognitive ability in the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study

Ginty, Annie T. and Phillips, Anna C. and Roseboom, Tessa J. and Carroll, Douglas and deRooij, Susanne R. (2011) Cardiovascular and cortisol reactions to acute psychological stress and cognitive ability in the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study. Psychophysiology, 49 (3). pp. 391-400. ISSN 00485772

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01316.x

Identification Number/DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01316.x

Objective: Recently, in analyses of data from a large community sample, negative cross-sectional and prospective associations between cardiac stress reactivity and obesity were observed. The present study re-examined the association between cardiovascular reactivity and adiposity in the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort, with the additional aim of examining the association between cortisol reactivity and adiposity. Methods: Blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol were measured at rest and in response to standard laboratory stress tasks in 725 adults. Height, weight, waist and hip circumference, and skin fold thickness were measured. Four to seven years later 460 participants reported current height and weight. Obesity was defined as a BMI > 30kg/m2. Results: Cross-sectional analyses revealed negative associations between all measures of adiposity and heart rate reactivity; those with a greater BMI (ß = -0.39 bpm), waist-hip ratio (ß = -0.15 bpm), and triceps and subscapular skin fold thicknesses (ß = -1.0 bpm and -1.8 bpm), or categorized as obese (-3.9 bpm) displayed smaller cardiac reactions to acute stress (all p <.001). With the exception of waist-hip ratio, the same negative associations emerged for cortisol reactivity (all p ≤ .01). In prospective analyses, low cardiac reactivity was associated with an increased likelihood of becoming or remaining obese in the subsequent 4-7 years (OR 1.03, p = .01). All associations withstood adjustment for a range of possible confounders. Conclusions: The present analyses provide additional support for the hypothesis that it is low not high cardiac and cortisol stress reactivity that is related to adiposity.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2011 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
ID Code:1329
Refereed:YES
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