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Ann Behav Med. 2009 Feb;37(1):29-37. doi: 10.1007/s12160-009-9081-z. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Social isolation and stress-related cardiovascular, lipid, and cortisol responses.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E6BT, UK. nina.grant@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social support is a strong and consistent predictor of health outcomes, and social isolation predicts increased morbidity and mortality. The mediating processes are not completely understood.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the study is to investigate associations between social isolation and cardiovascular and lipid responses to acute stress in the laboratory, and cortisol profiles over the day.

METHODS:

Cardiovascular and lipid responses to acute stress tasks, and salivary cortisol monitoring, were carried out in 238 healthy middle-aged men and women from the Whitehall II cohort. Social isolation was measured using an adapted version of the Close Persons Questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Social isolation was associated with slower post-task recovery of systolic blood pressure in men and women, a higher cholesterol response to stress in men only, and also with larger cortisol awakening responses and greater cortisol output over the day in both men and women.

CONCLUSIONS:

The impact of social isolation on cardiovascular disease risk may be mediated through stress-related dysregulation of cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuroendocrine processes.

PMID:
19194770
DOI:
10.1007/s12160-009-9081-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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