TitleAssociations between cognitive function and naturally occurring daily cortisol during middle adulthood: timing is everything.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsStawski, RS, Almeida, DM, Lachman, ME, Tun, PA, Rosnick, CB, Seeman, T
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Volume66 Suppl 1
Date Published2011 Jul
KeywordsTime Factors

OBJECTIVES: We examined associations between cognitive function (CF) and the naturally occurring daily cortisol levels using data from the Midlife in the United States survey and the National Study of Daily Experiences. METHODS: A national sample of 1,500 (mean age = 57 years; range = 33-84, 56% female) completed a phone-based battery of cognitive tasks and 3-6 months later provided saliva samples upon waking, 30 min after waking, at lunch time, and at bedtime on 4 consecutive days. RESULTS: Higher CF, particularly executive function, was associated with healthier daily cortisol profiles, including a steeper diurnal cortisol slope, higher morning cortisol levels, and lower afternoon and evening cortisol levels. DISCUSSION: The results indicate that better CF is associated with healthier profiles of naturally occurring cortisol and underscore the importance of the timing of cortisol sampling.