Executive functioning and diabetes: The role of anxious arousal and inflammation

Kyle W. Murdock, Angie S. LeRoy, Tamara E. Lacourt, Danny C. Duke, Cobi J. Heijnen, Christopher P. Fagundes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Individuals who perform poorly on measures of the executive function of inhibition have higher anxious arousal in comparison to those with better performance. High anxious arousal is associated with a pro-inflammatory response. Chronically high anxious arousal and inflammation increase one's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We sought to evaluate anxious arousal and inflammation as underlying mechanisms linking inhibition with diabetes incidence. Participants (N = 835) completed measures of cognitive abilities, a self-report measure of anxious arousal, and donated blood to assess interleukin-6 (IL-6) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Individuals with low inhibition were more likely to have diabetes than those with high inhibition due to the serial pathway from high anxious arousal to IL-6. Findings remained when entering other indicators of cognitive abilities as covariates, suggesting that inhibition is a unique cognitive ability associated with diabetes incidence. On the basis of our results, we propose several avenues to explore for improved prevention and treatment efforts for type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Anxious arousal
  • Diabetes
  • Executive functioning
  • Inflammation
  • Inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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