Date of Completion

2018

Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors

Department

Psychological Science

First Advisor

Julie Dumas, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John Green, Ph.D.

Keywords

estrogen, stress, cognition, menopause, women, aging

Abstract

The main goal of this study was to begin to examine how stress and estrogen work together to influence memory and thinking in older women. We looked at how stressful experiences affected memory in older women and how the hormone estrogen influenced the relationship between stress and memory. The relationship between cognition, stress, and hormones was investigated by having 15 women aged 60 and older complete stress and hormone questionnaires and perform two memory tasks. Most likely due to the small sample size, we did not find the hypothesized combined effect of lifetime estrogen exposure and cumulative stress on cognition. Yet, this study showed a relationship between psychiatric wellbeing, estrogen, and stress exposure. Furthermore, participants’ cognitive assessment scores were correlated with estrogen exposure and age. The results suggest that estrogen and stress have individual effects on cognition.

Available for download on Friday, May 03, 2019

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