Stress hormones in psychophysiological research: Emotional, behavioral, and cognitive implications.
ABSTRACT In this chapter the authors discuss stress hormones, emphasizing their modulation by emotionally salient stimuli, including mental and social stressors. The authors then describe stress hormones' biological characteristics and the neural basis of their responsiveness to psychological stimulation. The authors then consider the relationship between stress hormones metabolic and circadian variations and psychologically induced changes. The authors discuss research designs to achieve maximum sensitivity to psychogenic variations. Finally, the authors comment on practical issues in the collection, handling, and storage of biological specimens for the quantification of stress hormone changes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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ABSTRACT: Prior research has revealed racial disparities in health outcomes and health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking and drug abuse. It has been suggested that discrimination contributes to such disparities, but the mechanisms through which this might occur are not well understood. In the research reported here, we examined whether the experience of discrimination affects acute physiological stress responses and increases risk-taking behavior. Black and White participants each received rejecting feedback from partners who were either of their own race (in-group rejection) or of a different race (out-group rejection, which could be interpreted as discrimination). Physiological (cardiovascular and neuroendocrine) changes, cognition (memory and attentional bias), affect, and risk-taking behavior were assessed. Significant Participant Race × Partner Race interactions were observed. Cross-race rejection, compared with same-race rejection, was associated with lower levels of cortisol, increased cardiac output, decreased vascular resistance, greater anger, increased attentional bias, and more risk-taking behavior. These data suggest that perceived discrimination is associated with distinct profiles of physiological reactivity, affect, cognitive processing, and risk taking, implicating direct and indirect pathways to health disparities.Psychological Science 12/2012; · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Identification of genetic factors that influence stress reactivity is important in order to link environmental demands, particularly adversity to disease outcome. There is ample literature on genetic contribution to the endocrine stress response, while evidence for genetic contribution to individual differences in autonomic nervous system function is sparse and produced conflicting results. Here, we investigated the influence of two polymorphisms in the Catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) and serotonin transporter (5-HTT; SCL6A4) gene. We examined the autonomic stress response to the Trier Social Stress Test for Children in 115 children. Salivary α-amylase (sAA) was obtained prior to the stressor and repeatedly during recovery as a marker of autonomic reactivity. Furthermore, heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were monitored continuously. We found differences in ANS stress response associated with each polymorphism (all p<.05). Children with the L variant of 5-HTTLPR showed a higher increase and sharper recovery of sAA in response to stress than those with S variants. For HR, we found differences associated with COMT, i.e. children carrying at least one met allele showed lower mean HR increase and slower HR recovery in response to the stressor compared to those with two val alleles (p<.001) as well as a significant decrease in heart rate variability (p<.05). Our findings indicate that these two polymorphisms do indeed influence the ANS response to stress. This study provides further evidence for the crucial role of genetic factors in the modulation of differences in the acute stress response during childhood.International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 11/2011; 83(3):302-8. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Measurement effects exist throughout the sciences-the act of measuring often changes the properties of the observed. We suggest emotion research is no exception. The awareness and conscious assessment required by self-report of emotion may significantly alter emotional processes. In this study, participants engaged in a difficult math task designed to induce anger or shame while their cardiovascular responses were measured. Half of the participants were asked to report on their emotional states and appraise their feelings throughout the experiment, whereas the other half completed a control questionnaire. Among those in the anger condition, participants assigned to report on their emotions exhibited qualitatively different physiological responses from those who did not report. For participants in the shame condition, there were no significant differences in physiology based on the self-report manipulation. The study demonstrates that the simple act of reporting on an emotional state may have a substantial impact on the body's reaction to an emotional situation.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e64959. · 3.53 Impact Factor