Self-esteem and neuroendocrine response to challenge: MacArthur studies of successful aging

Teresa E. Seeman, Lisa F. Berkman, Barbara I. Gulanski, Richard J. Robbins, Susan L. Greenspan, Peter A. Charpentier, John W. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

The role of self-esteem in modulating patterns of neuroendocrine response to challenge at older ages was examined in 16 healthy 70-yr-olds. Responses to two challenges were examined: (1) a driving simulation designed to reflect a 'real life' challenge situation; and (2) a pharmacologic, corticotropin-releasing-hormone (CRH) challenge (1 μg/kg). Both challenges evoked significant elevations in cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Levels of self-esteem were significantly and negatively associated with peak elevations in cortisol in response to the driving simulation challenge (r = -0·51, p = 0·04). ACTH responses showed similar trends (r = -0·41, p = 0·12). Self-esteem levels were not correlated with responses to the CRH challenge. These data indicate that psychological characteristics such as self-esteem may play a role in modulating patterns of neuroendocrine response to cognitive/behavioral challenges in everyday life in older individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-84
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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