Lipid and Lipoprotein Responses to Episodic Occupational and Academic Stress

Raymond Niaura, Peter N. Herbert, Ann L. Saritelli, Michael G. Goldstein, Mary M. Flynn, Michael J. Follick, Larry Gorkin, David K. Ahern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the effects of psychological stress on plasma lipid, lipoprotein, and apolipoprotein levels in three related studies. In the first study, tax accountants (N = 20) and a comparable control group (N = 20) were assessed during and after the tax season. In the second and third studies, first-year medical students (N = 24 and N =16) were assessed at midsemester and immediately before the examinations. Across studies, the stressors induced significant psychological distress. There were no corresponding changes in lipid and lipoprotein levels. Mean stress-induced change in total cholesterol level was -0.04 mmol/L (— 1.6 mg/dL) (95% confidence interval, —0.23 to 0.16 mmol/L [— 9 to 6 mg/dL]) for the accountants and 0 mmol/L (0 mg/dL) (95% confidence interval, — 0.16 to 0.21 mmol/L —6 to 8 mg/dL]) and 0.10 mmol/L (4 mg/dL) (95% confidence interval, —0.18 to 0.39 mmol/L [—7 to 15 mg/dL]) for medical students in the second and third studies, respectively. In all studies, change in total cholesterol level correlated with change in total serum protein levels (r=.42 to.60). These results suggest that commonly occurring stressful situations do not produce significant changes in plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2172-2179
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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