Cardiovascular and endocrine reactivity in older females: Intertask consistency

Louise C. Hawkley, Mary Burleson, Kirsten M. Poehlmann, Gary G. Berntson, William B. Malarkey, John T. Cacioppo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Age-related structural and functional changes in the cardiovascular, sympathoadrenomedullary (SAM), and hypothalamicpituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) systems may affect the ability to reliably identify individual differences in response to stress. Heart rate, preejection period, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, respiratory rate, norepinephrine, epinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol were assessed in 64 healthy older women (mean = 67 years) in response to a mental arithmetic and public-speaking task. All cardiovascular and endocrine measures changed significantly during the tasks. All measures were consistent across the two tasks (rss = .50 to .97). Moreover, a majority of women in this sample exhibited cross-task consistency in the relative activation of the autonomic, SAM, and HPA systems (i.e., response profiles). Further research is recommended to examine the significance of consistent individual differences in response profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-872
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Endocrine reactivity
  • Intertask consistency
  • Older women
  • Response profiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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