Social integration of daily activities and cortisol secretion: A laboratory based manipulation

Cinnamon A. Stetler, Gregory E. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A diverse body of literature suggests that social contacts have direct regulatory influences on biological rhythms such as the diurnal cortisol decline. Although our previous prospective research has found a link between social contacts and cortisol secretion, a manipulation of social contacts is necessary to definitively evaluate causality. The current study involved a laboratory-based manipulation of daily social contacts. Fifty-three females experienced both high and low social contact conditions in the lab while collecting ambulatory data on their social contact and cortisol levels. Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling, such that cortisol production on high social contact days was compared within person to cortisol production on low social contact days. Although the manipulation successfully altered daily social contacts, it had no significant effect on cortisol slope. However, cortisol slope differences were significant when participants had contact with someone whom they usually saw every day. Social relationships that provide daily contact may have the strongest influence on biological rhythms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Daily activities
  • Diurnal cortisol slope
  • HPA axis
  • Social contact
  • Social integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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