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Atherosclerosis. 2017 Jun;261:131-137. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.03.012. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

Impact of psychological health on peripheral endothelial function and the HPA-axis activity in healthy adolescents.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine/Clinical Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy and University Hospital, University of Gothenburg, SE 41345 Gothenburg, Sweden. Electronic address: yun.chen@wlab.gu.se.
2
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, SE 17177 Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine/Clinical Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy and University Hospital, University of Gothenburg, SE 41345 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

The development of adolescence psychological health over a 3-year period and its relationship to peripheral endothelial function and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis activity were examined in a cohort of healthy adolescents in a longitudinal study.

METHODS:

A total of 162 adolescents (94 females) participated in both baseline (mean age 14.5 ± 1 years) and three-year follow-up studies. Psychological health was evaluated by self-report using the Beck Youth Inventories of Emotional and Social Impairment and the psychosomatic problem scale. Peripheral endothelial function was assessed using a peripheral artery tonometry device. The HPA-axis activity measured as cortisol awakening response (CAR) was assessed only at follow-up by collecting two saliva samples, immediately after awakening and 15 min later. Physical activity, smoking and parental education were assessed by questionnaires.

RESULTS:

Adolescents reported increased depression and decreased anger over three years, while only females reported increased psychosomatic complaints. Reduced peripheral endothelial function was associated with high level of anger (β = -0.332, p = 0.018) and disruptive behaviour (β = -0.390, p = 0.006) over three years in males, but not in females, after adjusting for covariates. Blunted cortisol awakening response was associated with high level of anxiety (β = -0.235, p = 0.017), depression (β = -0.203, p = 0.038), anger (β = -0.185, p = 0.048), and low level of self-concept (β = 0.289, p = 0.002) after adjusting for covariates.

CONCLUSIONS:

High level of negative emotions during adolescence may have adverse effects on peripheral endothelial function and the regulation of the HPA-axis activity, while high level of self-concept might be protective.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Cortisol awakening response; Negative emotional status; Peripheral endothelial function; Self-concept

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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