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

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 and cortisol sensitivity in response to a stressor, and that this association is mediated by rumination about the stressor. 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 rumination and total cortisol output, while rumination was associated with cortisol sensitivity with respect to increase/decrease. Females demonstrated better cognitive flexibility and lower total cortisol output compared to males. Findings demonstrate the importance of cognitive flexibility and rumination when predicting dynamic measures of stress-induced cortisol over time.



Work Title Executive functioning and rumination as they relate to stress-induced cortisol curves
Open Access
  1. Jasmin Guevara
  2. Kyle Murdock
  1. executive functioning; rumination; stress; cortisol
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Publication Date 2019
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00119-z
Deposited February 26, 2021




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  • Added Creator Jasmin Guevara
  • Updated Creator Kyle Murdock
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