Advertisement

Differential heart rate reactivity and recovery after psychosocial stress (TSST) in healthy children, younger adults, and elderly adults: The impact of age and gender

  • Brigitte M. KudielkaEmail author
  • Angelika Buske-Kirschbaum
  • Dirk H. Hellhammer
  • Clemens Kirschbaum
Article

Abstract

In addition to numerous reports about psychophysiological stress responses to acute stressors, there are few data available on gender differences of stress-induced heart rate responses in multiple age groups applying the same psychological stressor. Second, the assessment of poststress recovery appears to be neglected in the empirical literature. For this study, data from 5 independent studies were reanalyzed to investigate the impact of age and gender on heart rate responses and poststress recovery to a standardized psychosocial stress task (Trier Social Stress Test; TSST) in 28 children, 34 younger adults, and 26 older adults.

As expected, prestressor baselines correlated significantly with chronological age (r = -.27, p = .01). There was a marked age-related decrease in the heart rate stress response (p = .0003) with children and younger adults showing significantly higher increases than elderly persons. The analysis of gender effects showed that girls had higher heart rate increases during the stress exposure than boys (p = .03). In younger adults, stress responsivity was also higher in women (p = .03). Peak heart rate responses were comparable in older men and women, with only men returning to prestressor baselines during the observation period.

In sum, this reanalysis revealed differential heart rate responses and recovery after exposition to the TSST in healthy children, younger adults, and elderly adults.

Key words

heart rate age gender psychosocial stress reactivity recovery Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen, M. T., Stoney, C. M., Owens, J. F., & Matthews, K. A. (1993). Hemodynamic adjustments to laboratory stress: the influence of gender and personality. Psychosomatic Medicine, 55, 505–517.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anishchenko, T., Igosheva, N., Yakusheva, T., Glushkovskaya-Semyachkina, O., & Khokhlova, O. (2001). Normalized entropy applied to the analysis of interindividual and gender-related differences in the cardiovascular effects of stress. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 85, 287–298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boutcher, S. H., & Stocker, D. (1996). Cardiovascular response of young and older males to mental challenge. Journal of Gerontology, B51, 261–267.Google Scholar
  4. Buske-Kirschbaum, A., Jobst, S., Wustmans, A., Kirschbaum, C., Rauh, W., & Hellhammer, D. (1997). Attenuated free cortisol response to psychosocial stress in children with atopic dermatitis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59, 419–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Buske-Kirschbaum, A., von Auer, K., Krieger, S., Weis, S., Rauh, W., Hellhammer, D. (2003). Blunted cortisol responses to psychosocial stress in asthmatic children: A general feature of atopic disease? Psycholsomatic Medicine, 65, 806–810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dickerson, S. S., & Kemeny, M. E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theorical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 355–391.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Earle, T. L., Linden, W., & Weinberg, J. (1999). Differential effects of harassment on cardiovascular and salivary cortisol stress reactivity and recovery in women and men. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 46, 125–141.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Furchtgott, E., & Busemeyer, J. K. (1979). Heart rate and skin conductance during cognitive processes as a function of age. Journal of Gerontology, 34, 183–190.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gerin, W., Pickering, T. G., Glynn, L., Christenfeld, N., Schwartz, A., Carroll, D., et al. (2000). An historical context for behavioral models of hypertension. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 48, 369–377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gintner, G. G., Hollandsworth, J. G., & Intrieri, R. C. (1986). Age differences in cardiovascular reactivity under active coping conditions. Psychophysiology, 23, 113–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Girdler, S. S., Turner, J. R., Sherwood, A., & Light, K. C. (1990). Gender differences in blood pressure control during a variety of behavioral stressors. Psychosomatic Medicine, 52, 571–591.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Haynes, S. N., Gannon, L. R., Orimoto, L., O’Brien, W. H., & Brandt, M. (1991). Psychophysiological assessment of poststress recovery. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 3, 356–365.Google Scholar
  13. Hocking Schuler, J. L., & O’Brien, W. H. (1997). Cardiovascular recovery from stress and hypertension risk factors: A meta-analytic review. Psychophysiology, 34, 649–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Imai, K., Sato, H., Hori, M., Kusuoka, H., Ozaki, H., Yokoyama, H., et al. (1994). Vagally mediated heart rate recovery after exercise is accelerated in athletes but blunted in patients with chronic heart failure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 24, 1529–1535.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kamarck, T. W., & Lovallo, W. R. (2003). Cardiovascular reactivity to psychological challenges. Conceptual and measurement considerations. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 9–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kirschbaum, C., Kudielka, B. M., Gaab, J., Schommer, N. C., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1999). Impact of gender, menstrual cycle phase, and oral contraceptives on the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 61, 154–162.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K.-M., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’—a tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology, 28, 76–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Krantz, D. S., & Manuck, S. B. (1984). Acute psychophysiological reactivity and risk of cardiovascular disease: A review and methodologic critique. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 435–464.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kudielka, B. M., Schmidt-Reinwald, A. K., Hellhammer D. H., & Kirschbaum C. (1999). Psychological and endocrine responses to psychosocial stress and Dex-CRF in healthy post-menopausal women and young controls: The impact of age and a two-week estradiol treatment. Neuroendocrinology, 70, 422–430.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kudielka, B. M., Schmidt-Reinwald, A. K., Hellhammer, D. H., Kirschbaum C. (2000). Psychosocial stress and functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: No evidence for a reduced resilience in elderly men. Stress, 3, 229–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lakatta, E. G. (1993). Cardiovascular regulatory mechanisms in advanced age. Physiological Reviews, 73, 413–467.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Linden, W., Earle, T. L., Gerin, W., & Christenfeld, N. (1997). Physiological stress reactivity and recovery: Conceptual siblings separated at birth? Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 42, 117–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Linden, W., Gerin, W., & Davidson, K. (2003). Cardiovascular reactivity: Status quo and a research agenda fort he new millennium. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 5–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lovallo, W. R., & Gerin, W. (2003). Psychophysiological reactivity: Mechanisms and pathways to cardiovascular disease. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 36–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Manuck, S. B., Kaplan, J. R., & Clarkson, T. B. (1983). Behaviorally induced heart rate reactivity and atherosclerosis in cynomolgus monkeys. Psychosomatic Medicine, 45, 95–108.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Matthews, K. A., Salomon, K., Brady, S. S., Allen, M. T. (2003). Cardiovascular reactivity to stress predicts future blood pressure in adolescence. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 410–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Matthews, K. A., & Stoney, C. M. (1988). Influences of sex and age on cardiovascular responses during stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 50, 46–56.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Pickering, T. G., & Gerin, W. (1990). Cardiovascular reactivity in the laboratory and the role of behavioral factors in hypertension. A critical review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 12, 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Polefrone, J. M., & Manuck, S. B. (1987). Gender differences in cardiovascular and neuroendocrine response to stress. In R. S. Barnett, L. Biener & G. K. Baruch (Eds.), Gender and stress (pp. 13–38). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  30. Saab, P. G., Matthews, K. A., Stoney, C. M., & McDonald, R. H. (1989). Premenopausal women differ in their cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to behavioral stressors. Psychophysiology, 26, 270–280.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schocken, D. D., & Roth, G. S. (1977). Reduced beta-adrenergic receptor concentrations in ageing man. Nature, 267, 856–858.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schwartz, A. R., Gerin, W., Davidson, K. W., Pickering, T. G., Brosshot, J. F., Thayer, J. F., et al. (2003). Toward a causal model of cardiovascular responses to stress and the development of cardiovascular disease. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 22–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Seeman, T. E., & Robbins, R. J. (1994). Aging and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to challenge in humans. Endocrine Reviews, 15, 233–260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Steptoe, A., Fieldman, G., Evans, O., & Perry, L. (1996). Cardiovascular risk and responsivity to mental stress: The influence of age, gender and risk factors. Journal of Cardiovascular Risk, 3, 83–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Steptoe, A., Moses, J., & Edwards, S. (1990). Age-related differences in cardiovascular reactions to mental stress tests in women. Health Psychology, 9, 18–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tanaka, H., Monahan, K. D., & Seals, D. R. (2001). Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 37, 153–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tersman, Z., Collins, A., & Eneroth, P. (1991). Cardiovascular responses to psychological and physiological stressors during the menstrual cycle. Psychosomatic Medicine, 53, 185–197.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Treiber, F. A., Kamarck, T., Schneiderman, N., Sheffield, D., Kapuku, G., & Taylor, T. (2003). Cardiovascular reactivity and development of preclinical and clinical disease states. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 46–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Uchino, B. N., Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1992). Age-related changes in cardiovascular responses as a function of a chronic stressor and social support. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 839–846.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Watanabe, J., Thamilarasan, M., Blackstone, E. H., Thomas, J. D, & Lauer, M. S. (2001). Heart rate recovery immediately after treadmill exercise and left ventricular systolic dysfunction as predictors of mortality. Circulation, 104, 1911–1916.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brigitte M. Kudielka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Angelika Buske-Kirschbaum
    • 2
  • Dirk H. Hellhammer
    • 2
  • Clemens Kirschbaum
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesSwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), TUR1ZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Theoretical PsychobiologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany
  3. 3.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

Personalised recommendations