Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Movement Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. R. Lee Franco


Research regarding the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is important because CVD is the leading cause of death in the United States (US) and many countries abroad. Risk factors, such as obesity and psychological stress, should be studied in order to understand contributing factors for CVD and the cellular mechanisms which link risk factors with the development of disease. Specifically, the combined influence of multiple risk factors on inflammation is of interest because many individuals have more than one risk factor, which additively increases an individual’s risk for CVD. Obesity is already characterized by disordered inflammation, which suggests that the additional burden of a psychological stressor could elicit a greater inflammatory response and a greater risk for CVD than either stressor alone. The documents included within this thesis include the significance and specific aims of the study in addition to a review of the relevant literature related to the effects of obesity and acute mental stress (AMS) on endocrine and inflammatory markers. Specifically, this study aims to address IL-1β, IL-1Ra, and leptin following an AMS task in non-obese and obese individuals. Additionally, a manuscript is included which evaluates the change in IL-1β, IL-1Ra, and leptin following a 20 minute AMS task. Variables were examined between groups at baseline and at two time points following AMS. Additionally, the relationships among the changes in the markers following AMS were examined. Appendices include expanded methodology and all questionnaires used.


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