Loneliness accentuates age differences in cardiovascular responses to social evaluative threat.

Research paper by Anthony D AD Ong, Jeremy D JD Rothstein, Bert N BN Uchino

Indexed on: 19 Oct '11Published on: 19 Oct '11Published in: Psychology and aging


The effects of aging and loneliness on cardiovascular stress responses were examined in 91 young (18-30 years) and 91 older (65-80 years) normotensive adults. Participants completed the revised UCLA Loneliness Scale and a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test. Piece-wise linear growth-curve analysis was used to model group differences in resting, reactivity, and recovery levels of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Replicating and extending prior research, analyses revealed age-related increases in resting SBP and DBP. Adjusting for demographics and health covariates, interactions were found for SBP in which age differences in stress reactivity and recovery were greater among lonely than nonlonely participants. Findings provide further evidence that loneliness interacts with age to augment cardiovascular risk to social evaluative threat.