State and trait affect as predictors of salivary cortisol in healthy adults

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

We measured affect in 334 healthy adults on each of 7 days over a 3-week period. On the last day, salivary cortisol was assessed 14 times yielding scores for total concentration, morning rise amplitude, and slope of the time function. Trait negative affect (NA) was associated with higher total cortisol concentrations and greater morning rise in men. Cortisol levels for men low in trait positive affect (PA) did not decrease in the afternoon, resulting in a relatively high, flat rhythm. In contrast, women high in trait PA had low morning cortisol resulting in a low flat rhythm. State (person-centered) NA was not associated with same-day cortisol measures. State PA was associated with decreased total cortisol concentration in women. These are the first results showing associations between cortisol and trait PA. Differences in rhythmicity found here are noteworthy given the possible role of cortisol dysregulation in disease incidence, morbidity, mortality, and severity.


Published In

Psychoneuroendocrinology, 30, 3, 261-272.