R01 AG39409 4/01/11 – 3/31/16

Effects of Stress on Cognition Aging, Physiology, and Emotions (ESCAPE) is an NIA funded study that examines the mechanisms that link stress to cognitive aging. It is a longitudinal measurement-burst design study that aims to examine short-term fluctuations and long-term change in cognitive function within and between individuals across various stress contexts (e.g., daily hassles, major life events, chronic strains). This ongoing study involves 320 adults who will complete 8 biannual ‘bursts’ of 14 days of ecological momentary assessments (EMA). In the EMA component of the study, participants carry specially-programmed smartphones to report on their daily experiences, emotions, and thoughts. They also complete ‘brain games’ on the smartphones which assess their cognitive performance. Participants complete these smartphone surveys in the morning, five times throughout the day, and at bedtime. Prior to each burst, participants complete in-lab assessments of cognition, stress, health status and other risk regulators.  Using this approach, this study aims to:

  • improve our understanding on the longitudinal association between stress-related risk-factors and cognitive aging;
  • identify mechanisms (e.g., unconstructive repetitive thought) that link stress to cognitive aging; and
  • determine the temporal ordering between stress, stress mediators, and cognition.

ESCAPE is funded from a grant provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a division of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The long-term goal of this grant is to better understand healthy aging as well as the special challenges to maintaining cognitive health that face adults as they transition from mid-life into senior years. 

related study focuses on physiological mediators (e.g., HPA-axis and inflammatory) of the relationship between psychosocial stress and cognitive performance.

Visit this study at: Escape

Project Team

Martin J. Sliwinski , Ph.D.


Joshua M. Smyth, Ph.D.


David M. Almeida, Ph.D.


Jennifer E. Graham-Engeland, Ph.D.


Ruixue Zhaoyang, Ph.D.


Christopher G. Engeland


Richard B. Lipton, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Principal Investigator
Mindy J. Katz, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Senior Associate