Navigation Links
Stress affects older adults more than young adults
Date:10/28/2008

Life can be stressful, whether you're an individual watching the stock market crash or a commuter stuck in traffic. A new study, forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science, examines how stress affects decision-making and finds that older adults alter their behavior more than young adults when under stress particularly in situations involving risk.

"People haven't looked at how stress affects decision making, even though so many of our decisions are made under stress," explained Mara Mather of USC Davis School of Gerontology, lead author of the study. "There's very little information about this whole topic, and, when you get to age differences, there's even less."

Mather and her colleagues Marissa Gorlick, of the USC Emotion and Cognition Lab, and Nichole Kryla-Lighthall, a USC doctoral student, exposed young adults (18 to 33) and older adults (65 to 89) to a stressful event, in this case, holding a hand in ice-cold water for three minutes.

Participants were then asked to play a driving game correlating to a real-life situation in which taking a small amount of risk is common: whether to go for it on a yellow light. Participants started at a green light, and points were awarded for every second spent driving during a yellow, but lost if the light turned red while driving. The length of time for the yellow lights was determined randomly.

In other words, Mather explained, participants had to decide to take some risk driving during a yellow light to score any points at all.

"This is the way life is, quite often. To make more money in your investments, you have to take risk. To end up dating someone, you have to take the risk of going up and saying hello," Mather said. "When there's a potential payoff, most of the time you have to take some risk."

In the control group, which was not exposed to ice-cold water, older adults were actually better drivers than younger adults, the researchers found, scoring higher on the game.

However, in the stressed group, older adults were not only more cautious but were also jerkier drivers, braking and restarting almost three times as much as their calmer peers.

The differences in the effects of stress were consistent even when the researchers accounted for gender, level of education, mood and health self-ratings.

"The everyday commute can be stressful: someone cuts you off, you're late already. Are you more likely to try and take a risk than if you weren't stressed out?" Mather asks. "Our results indicate that stress changes older adults' strategies."

The exposure to ice-cold water caused a rise in levels of the hormone cortisol, measured in saliva. Cortisol levels increased significantly (and about the amount) among stressed younger and older adults, but did not change significantly from pre-test levels for the control group, which was not exposed to ice-cold water.

As Mather explained: "The brain regions that are involved in and activated by stress overlap quite a lot with the brain regions that are involved in decision making and, in particular, in decisions about risk."


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Wu
suzanne.wu@usc.edu
213-740-0252
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Large hormone dose may reduce risk of post-traumatic stress disorder
2. Exercise Can Help You Cope with Financial Stress and Heal Emotional Pain, Says Acclaimed Author and Psychotherapist
3. American Red Cross Offering Free Class to Help Military Families Cope With the Stress of Deployments
4. Protection for stressed-out bacteria identified
5. Prescriptions for Stress
6. UNC study: Parenting can override effect of genes in how babies respond to stress
7. Distinguishing Between Good and Bad Stress is Key for Leaders
8. National study finds post-traumatic stress disorder common among injured patients
9. Stress-Related and Emotional Eating Can Be Curbed With the Vitamin Code(TM) Perfect Weight Formula
10. Are You A Stress Eater? Revolutionary Program Reduces Overall Stress and Stress Eating Tendencies
11. Yerkes researchers create animal model of chronic stress
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/25/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... access, support, and collaboration, announces Mirroring360 Pro . This new addition to ... comprehensive collaboration experience for education and business. , Mirroring360 Pro enables educators, business ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... 2017 , ... As President Trump challenges the status quo ... administration could impact the employee benefits industry. James Slotnick, AVP, Government Relations, for ... make it through Congress. His discussion will focus on the current state of ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Patients ... that achieves results in a fraction of the time as traditional braces – ... Significance Dental Specialists, now offers this revolutionary treatment with or without a referral. ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... Minneapolis MN (PRWEB) , ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... patients and recreational users to dispensaries and head shops –can’t help but be heartened ... loathing for the tell-tale cannabis odor aptly described as “skunk smell.” At last ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... , ... There is no better place in South Florida to undergo two ... May issue of Consumer Reports focused on heart health. , The magazine gave ... after coronary bypass and aortic valve replacement procedures. , Consumer Reports rated ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... , April 21, 2017 Halo Labs announces ... biopharmaceutical particle analysis system called the Horizon at PEGS ... 1st. The new system analyzes sub visible particulate matter ... rapid particle screening as early as candidate selection and ... leading biopharma contract research organization Elion Labs ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... April 20, 2017  RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: ... that address significant unmet medical needs, today announced ... Company,s consumer product development program, based on its ... for Investigative Dermatology (SID) 76 th Annual ... promote the sciences relevant to skin health and ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, Competitive Strategies and Forecasts, ... ... at US$ 7,167.6 Mn in 2015, and is expected to ... of 5.6% from 2016 to 2024. The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: