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J Psychiatr Res. 2016 Oct;81:16-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.06.014. Epub 2016 Jun 18.

Associations between diurnal cortisol patterns and lifestyle factors, psychotic symptoms, and neurological deficits: A longitudinal study on patients with chronic schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Dept of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Electronic address: tinho@hku.hk.
2
Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
3
The Providence Garden for Rehab, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Limited, Hong Kong.
4
Dept of Psychiatry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
5
Dept of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.

Abstract

The present study examined the relationships between diurnal cortisol patterns and perceived stress, lifestyle factors, psychotic symptoms, neurological deficits, and daily functioning in patients with chronic schizophrenia. The participants were 149 Chinese patients with chronic schizophrenia, who provided salivary cortisol measures upon waking, before lunchtime, and before bedtime at baseline (Time 1). Self-report measures on perceived stress and lifestyle factors such as body-mass index and daily exercise span were recorded at Time 1. Diagnostic assessments on psychotic symptoms, neurological deficits, and daily functioning were made at Time 1 and Time 2 (3 months later). Latent growth modeling and path modeling analysis were performed to investigate the diurnal cortisol patterns and the relationships with the study variables, respectively. Greater perceived stress and body-mass index and less physical activity were significantly linked to reduced cortisol decline. Reduced cortisol decline at Time 1 significantly predicted greater psychotic (positive and negative) symptoms and more severe neurological deficits in motor coordination and sequencing of complex motor acts at Time 2. The present results contribute to a better understanding of the diurnal cortisol patterns among chronic schizophrenia patients and the associations with lifestyle factors, psychotic symptoms, and neurological deficits. The findings lend support to the neural diathesis-stress model and suggest that hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis may potentially mediate the effects of lifestyle factors on psychotic symptoms and neurological deficits.

KEYWORDS:

Chinese; Chronic schizophrenia; Cortisol; Diurnal slope; Psychotic symptoms; Stress

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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