A prospective study of response to stressful life events in initially healthy elders

L. Willis, P. Thomas, P. J. Garry, J. S. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Behavioral and physiological reactions to the stress of a major life crisis were studied prospectively in a group of healthy elderly individuals. Significant decreases in caloric intake, body weight, and lymphocyte count were found following the stressful event with a return toward baseline levels after a recovery period. Significant increases were found for psychological distress and serum cortisol. The results support the thesis that behavioral and physiological changes occur during an event perceived by an elderly person to be stressful and that such changes can have adverse effects on health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-630
Number of pages4
JournalJournals of Gerontology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging

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