Elevation of plasma beta-endorphin levels of shy elderly in response to novel laboratory experiences

Iris R. Bell, Gary E Schwartz, Richard R Bootzin, Vincent Hau, Thomas P Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Heightened psychophysiological reactivity to the novel or unfamiliar is a leading characteristic of shy or behaviorally inhibited individuals. To assess one aspect of the physiological stress response in shyness, the authors compared the morning plasma beta-endorphin levels of 15 extremely shy, healthy elderly individuals with beta-endorphin levels of 15 extremely outgoing persons on three pairs of 2 successive days. The primary finding was that shy participants exhibited significantly higher levels of beta-endorphin on the 1st days of each pair of days, compared with the 2nd days in the laboratory. No main effect for shyness or interaction between shyness and diet on endorphin levels was found. The findings are consistent with a peripheral opioid hyper-reactivity to novelty in shy elderly persons. Shyness may constitute a risk factor for panic disorder in younger adults and for nasal allergies and certain cancers in older adults. Experimental design and interpretation of future studies of shy individuals' stress responses may need to consider novelty versus familiarity of the procedures and setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Volume22
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Shyness
beta-Endorphin
Endorphins
Physiological Stress
Panic Disorder
Nose
Opioid Analgesics
Young Adult
Hypersensitivity
Research Design
Diet
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • Beta-endorphin
  • Novelty
  • Plasma
  • Shyness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Elevation of plasma beta-endorphin levels of shy elderly in response to novel laboratory experiences. / Bell, Iris R.; Schwartz, Gary E; Bootzin, Richard R; Hau, Vincent; Davis, Thomas P.

In: Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 22, No. 4, 1997, p. 168-173.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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