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Loneliness and cardiovascular reactivity to acute stress in older adults

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posted on 2022-02-23, 11:41 authored by Eoin G. Brown, ANN-MARIE CREAVENANN-MARIE CREAVEN, Stephen GallagherStephen Gallagher
Loneliness has been linked to cardiovascular health outcomes in older adult-hood. One proposed mechanism by which loneliness influences cardiovascular health is through atypical cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) to stress. This study is an examination of loneliness and CVR in older adults, comparing associations across two stressors and two commonly used measures of loneliness, with a particular focus on underlying hemodynamic variables including cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, and ejection time (EJT). Eighty older adults, ranging in age from 55 to 88 years (M = 68.93, SD = 8.28), completed two versions of the UCLA loneliness scale (a 20-item and a briefer, three-item) and took part in a laboratory stress-testing procedure which included a mental arithmetic challenge and a public speaking task. Cardiovascular activity was monitored continuously throughout. For the 20-item version of the UCLA loneliness scale, loneliness was not significantly related to CVR, and was only significantly associated with lower levels of overall EJT. For the three-item version of the UCLA, no associations withstood adjustment for multiple testing. Loneliness was not reliably associated with CVR. Further, although greater loneliness was related to lower levels of overall EJT, this was only observed for the 20-item scale. The findings do not strongly provide support for reactivity to acute stress as a pathway linking loneliness to disease outcomes, and highlight key methodological issues related to the assessment of loneliness-reactivity associations for future.

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History

Publication

Psychophysiology;00, e14012

Publisher

Wiley

Note

peer-reviewed

Other Funding information

IRC

Language

English

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