PMID: 232553Dec 1, 1979Paper

Psychologic correlates of serum indicators of stress in man: a longitudinal study

Psychosomatic Medicine
K T Francis


Correlations between serum uric acid, cortisol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and psychometric indices of stress--namely, anxiety, hostility, and depression--were investigated in 20 students over a 2 1/2 month academic quarter. There were three peak periods of stress, with two occurring during midterm and final exams. The observed changes in serum cortisol were highly correlated with changes in anxiety and depression. Serum uric acid was significantly depressed during the first half of the quarter, but returned to control levels after midterm exams. Serum cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol subfraction were significantly elevated above control levels and remained elevated throughout the quarter after the first day of classes. Absolute levels of HDL cholesterol varied little throughout the quarter, however, the ratio of HDL cholesterol/total cholesterol was significantly depressed twice in the quarter, each time following approximately 10 days after the peak period of stress.


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