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Executive functioning and rumination as they relate to stress-induced cortisol curves.

Authors
  • Guevara, Jasmin E1, 2
  • Murdock, Kyle W3
  • 1 Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, 219 Biobehavioral Health Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA.
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of Utah, 380 1530 East, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA.
  • 3 Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, 219 Biobehavioral Health Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of behavioral medicine
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
43
Issue
5
Pages
829–838
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10865-019-00119-z
PMID: 31754937
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Better executive functioning may be associated with more adaptive stress responses than worse executive functioning, potentially due to less propensity for rumination. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that better executive functioning would be associated with decreased total cortisol output (AUCg) and cortisol sensitivity with respect to increase/decrease (AUCi) in response to a stressor, and that this association is mediated by stress task rumination. Participants completed measures of inhibition, updating/monitoring, and cognitive flexibility, a social-evaluative stressor, and a self-report measure of rumination about the stressor. Participants provided saliva samples at six time points to measure cortisol output and sensitivity. Cognitive flexibility was negatively associated with stress task rumination (r = - .30, p < .05); however, this association was no longer significant when adding covariates (i.e., participant age, sex, highest education, and body mass index) to a regression model. Cognitive flexibility was also associated with AUCg (r = - .28, p < .05), while rumination was associated with AUCi in non-adjusted (r = .28, p < .05) and adjusted (b = .81, p < .05) analyses. Furthermore, females demonstrated better cognitive flexibility (r = .26, p < .05) and lower AUCg (r = - .45, p < .05) compared to males. Findings demonstrate the importance of cognitive flexibility and rumination when predicting dynamic measures of stress-induced cortisol over time.

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