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Keywords:

  • daily hassles;
  • cortisol levels;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • older adults

Objectives

The aim of this study was to assess whether the association, in a naturalistic setting, between daily hassles and diurnal salivary cortisol differs in the presence of depression and anxiety in older adults.

Methods

Data were assessed in a large representative community sample of older adults (n = 1760). A multinomial analysis was used to study as an outcome variable: no disorder, depression only, anxiety only and depression and anxiety, as a function of daily hassles and cortisol levels controlling for age, gender and time of saliva collection. Multivariate regression analyses were also carried out to test the association between daily hassles and cortisol levels stratified by depression and anxiety status.

Results

A significant positive association was observed between the number of daily hassles reported and cortisol levels in participants with no depression and no anxiety and in participants with anxiety. Participants without depression and anxiety, and those with depression only, had significant lower cortisol levels later in the day. This was not observed in respondents with anxiety.

Conclusion

Stressors such as daily hassles are associated with cortisol secretion in depression and anxiety in older adults in a large epidemiologic setting. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.