A large body of empirical research has established a link between excessive stress and a number of adverse health outcomes. Since the discovery of corticosteroid receptors in the rat hippocampus there has also been considerable interest in how stress affects memory, and more generally, cognition. Although a large number of studies have examined how physiological components of the stress response relate to cognition, there is surprisingly little research on how the experience of naturally occurring stress relates to cognitive impairment. Some recent evidence suggests that stress could impact not only declarative memory, but also working memory and executive function, and that these effects may be amplified in older compared to younger adults. Our overall goal is to examine the relationship between naturally occurring stress, cortisol, and specific aspects of working memory function. We propose two studies to accomplish goal. The first study is a cross-sectional multivariate experiment focused on between-person relationships between stress and cognition and the second is longitudinal measurement-burst design that will examine the temporal dynamics of the within-person relationship between stress and cognition across a wide range of time intervals (days to months). Our research has the following Specific Aims: (1): To examine whether that stress affects cognition by depleting attentional resources; (2): To examine which aspect of the stress response predicts cognitive performance by using multiple approaches to measuring stress (i.e., life events, daily stress, subjective severity) and its psychological and physiological effects; (3): To examine the hypothesis that aging amplifies the effect of stress on cognition; and (4) To examine whether stress and cognition are coupled within individuals. This will involve testing hypotheses that the above aim at both the between- person level and the within-person level of analysis, by examining the within-person coupling of stress and cognition over a broad sampling of time intervals, ranging from days to months to years. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-H (02))
Program Officer
Nielsen, Lisbeth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Syracuse University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Scott, Stacey B; Sliwinski, Martin J; Zawadzki, Matthew et al. (2018) A Coordinated Analysis of Variance in Affect in Daily Life. Assessment :1073191118799460
Blumen, Helena M; Brown, Lucy L; Habeck, Christian et al. (2018) Gray matter volume covariance patterns associated with gait speed in older adults: a multi-cohort MRI study. Brain Imaging Behav :
Zawadzki, Matthew J; Sliwinski, Martin J; Smyth, Joshua M (2018) Perseverative Cognitions and Stress Exposure: Comparing Relationships With Psychological Health Across a Diverse Adult Sample. Ann Behav Med 52:1060-1072
Neubauer, Andreas B; Smyth, Joshua M; Sliwinski, Martin J (2018) When you see it coming: Stressor anticipation modulates stress effects on negative affect. Emotion 18:342-354
Eslami, Vahid; Katz, Mindy J; White, Robert S et al. (2017) Pain Intensity and Pain Interference in Older Adults: Role of Gender, Obesity and High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein. Gerontology 63:3-12
Phibbs, Sandi; Stawski, Robert S; MacDonald, Stuart W S et al. (2017) The influence of social support and perceived stress on response time inconsistency. Aging Ment Health :1-8
Ezzati, Ali; Katz, Mindy J; Lipton, Michael L et al. (2016) Hippocampal volume and cingulum bundle fractional anisotropy are independently associated with verbal memory in older adults. Brain Imaging Behav 10:652-9
Sundermann, Erin E; Biegon, Anat; Rubin, Leah H et al. (2016) Better verbal memory in women than men in MCI despite similar levels of hippocampal atrophy. Neurology 86:1368-1376
Ezzati, Ali; Katz, Mindy J; Lipton, Michael L et al. (2015) The association of brain structure with gait velocity in older adults: a quantitative volumetric analysis of brain MRI. Neuroradiology 57:851-61
Munoz, Elizabeth; Sliwinski, Martin J; Scott, Stacey B et al. (2015) Global perceived stress predicts cognitive change among older adults. Psychol Aging 30:487-499

Showing the most recent 10 out of 23 publications