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Title: Psychosocial underpinnings of metabolic syndrome
Author: Hodge, Stephanie Jean
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 2149
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2018
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The rate of obesity throughout Europe has more than doubled over the past 20 years. It was hypothesised that certain patterns of adiposity and associated co-morbidity metabolic parameters were related to certain psychological traits and neurochemical markers. The study aim was to measure associations between adiposity, metabolic markers, psychological traits and the neurochemicals whole blood serotonin and salivary cortisol, in a single study. Participants were healthy (n=102), males (n=35) and females (n=67), aged 20-65 years (mean 39.7 years). The literature review found that some patterns of adiposity were associated with metabolic risk factors more strongly than were others. Gynoid fat may be a healthier state of adiposity in terms of cardiovascular health. Negative emotional traits, such as anxiety were associated with greater risk for metabolic syndrome/obesity, whilst positive measures such as optimism were linked with lower risk. Experimental findings showed optimism being linked with lower adiposity and life satisfaction associated with greater high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Associations between whole blood (WB) serotonin and anthropometric measures found lower WB serotonin being associated with greater adiposity, and that this may be sex-linked. The theory that adiposity may be linked to salivary cortisol and certain psychological factors showed positive associations between gynoid fat, BMI and resilience. Higher salivary cortisol was also correlated with greater perceived stress, and with lower trait mood. These data imply a link between cortisol, adiposity and psychological factors. There are few studies in the literature linking these cross-disciplinary fields. Results suggest that serotonin could be an antecedent and/or a consequence of obesity. Data also suggest that psychometric and salivary cortisol factors, particularly resilience, may interplay together to contribute towards adiposity. This study also implies that the positive traits of optimism, resilience and life satisfaction are related to better metabolic health and more “healthy” patterns of fat deposition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available