Endocrine measures of stress and self-rated health: a longitudinal study

J Psychosom Res. 2003 Oct;55(4):317-20. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(02)00634-7.


Objective: Simple global self-ratings of health have been found to hold considerable predictive validity in relation to morbidity and mortality. Inverse associations between chronic stress and self-rated health (SRH) have been found and suggested to explain part of the predictive validity of SRH. Studies including biological data are, however, few. The purpose of this paper is to study the relationship between endocrine measures of stress and SRH.

Methods: A longitudinal study of 102 healthy middle-aged men. Written questionnaires and blood samples were collected at baseline and at follow-up 1 year later.

Results: A decrease in SRH below the level of good was associated with significantly increased s-prolactin and decreased s-testosterone. Poorer SRH and increased levels of s-prolactin were significantly associated with increased vital exhaustion at follow-up.

Conclusion: Our study identifies a possible biological pathway, which might be of relevance in understanding the well-established association between SRH and health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Self Concept*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin