Circadian, cortisol, estradiol, phase difference, affect




Affective disorders impact women’s health, with a lifetime prevalence of over twelve per cent. They have been correlated with reproductive cycle factors, under the regulation of hormonal circadian rhythms. In affective disorders, circadian rhythms may become desynchronized. The circadian rhythms of cortisol and estradiol may play a role in affective disorders. The purpose of this study was to explore the temporal relationship between the rhythms of cortisol and estradiol and its relationship to affect. It was hypothesized that a cortisol-estradiol phase difference (PD) exists that correlates with optimal affect. A small scale, comparative, correlational design was used to test the hypothesis. Twenty-three women were recruited from an urban university. Salivary samples were collected over a twenty-four-hour period and fitted to a cosinor model. Subjective measures of affect were collected. Relationships between the cortisol-estradiol PD and affect were evaluated using a second-degree polynomial equation. Results demonstrated a significant correlation in affect measures (p < 0.05). An optimal PD was identified for affect to be 3.6 hours. The phase relationship between cortisol and estradiol may play a role in the development of alterations in affective disorders.

Original Citation

Butler, K. G. (2018). Relationship Between the Cortisol-Estradiol Phase Difference and Affect in Women. Journal of Circadian Rhythms, 16(1), 1–12.

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