Premenopausal and postmenopausal women differ in their cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to behavioral stressors

Patrice Saab, K. A. Matthews, C. M. Stoney, R. H. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

209 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Middle-aged (45-51 years) women performed four tasks while their heart rate, blood pressure, and plasma catecholamines were measured. The tasks were serial subtraction, mirror image tracing, speech, and postural tilt. The speech task was considered to be particularly relevant to women because of its emphasis on social skills. Fifteen premenopausal women reported menstruating regularly and were tested in the early follicular phase. Sixteen postmenopausal women reported not menstruating for at least 12 months and their hormonal status was verified by serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone. Results showed that postmenopausal women exhibited greater increases from baseline in heart rate during all tasks, relative to premenopausal women, with a particularly pronounced increase during the speech task. Postmenopausal women exhibited greater increases from baseline in systolic blood pressure and epinephrine, relative to premenopausal women, during the speech task only. Explanations for the stressor-specific effect of menopausal status were discussed. The results suggest that reproductive hormones may interact with stressor characteristics to determine middle-aged women's physiological responses to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume26
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

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Blood Pressure
Heart Rate
Physiological Stress
Follicular Phase
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Epinephrine
Catecholamines
Hormones
Serum
Social Skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Premenopausal and postmenopausal women differ in their cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to behavioral stressors. / Saab, Patrice; Matthews, K. A.; Stoney, C. M.; McDonald, R. H.

In: Psychophysiology, Vol. 26, No. 3, 01.01.1989, p. 270-280.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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