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Abstract

In four independent studies, sex differences in cortisol responses to psychological stress were investigated in healthy adolescents and adults (total n = 153). Public speaking and mental arithmetic in front of an audience (Studies 1-3) reliably induced increases in free cortisol levels in both sexes with 2- to 4-fold increases above baseline levels. Mean cortisol responses were 1.5- to 2-fold higher in men compared with women. In Study 3, cortisol profiles were additionally investigated after human corticotropin-releasing hormone (h-CRH) and bicycle ergometry until exhaustion. Here, both sexes showed very similar adrenocortical responses. Furthermore, men showed elevated cortisol levels in anticipation of the psychological stress situation without actually having to perform the tasks (Study 4). Under this condition cortisol concentration was unchanged or decreased in women. From these data we conclude that the observed sex difference does not reflect an overall lower responsiveness of the female adrenal cortex. Although these studies do not provide conclusive data, we suggest sex differences in cognitive and/or emotional responses to distressing psychosocial situations which in turn may influence cortisol secretion.

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... Higher 163 cortisol levels in women were also reported by Kivlighan et al. (2005) and Mazur et al. 164 (1997). As a comparison, differences in the level of this hormone depending on sex were not 165 noted by van den Bos et al. (2014) and Kirschbaum et al. (1992). However, they suggest Bos et al. (2014) and Kirschbaum et al. (1992). ...
... As a comparison, differences in the level of this hormone depending on sex were not 165 noted by van den Bos et al. (2014) and Kirschbaum et al. (1992). However, they suggest Bos et al. (2014) and Kirschbaum et al. (1992). However, they suggest differences in the level of cortisol increase in men and women depending on the type of task they have to perform and the degree of risk taken (van den Bos et al., 2014). ...
... We measured cortisol levels at eight times on days when healthy men and women consumed caffeine (250 mg × 3 and van den Bos et al. (2014). They found that men are more prone to psychological stress than women (Kirschbaum et al., 1992;Lovallo et al., 2006) sex differences in cortisol responses to psychological stress were investigated in healthy adolescents and adults (total n = 153 and that the level of cortisol in men has a strong positive relationship with the degree of their risk-taking (van den Bos et al., 2014). ...
Article
The handler's sex, as well as his personality and individual predispositions, may affect his suitability for work in rescue services. In addition, the handler's susceptibility to stress may affect the effects of search and rescue (SAR) dog's work. The study aimed to analyze the salivary cortisol level of SAR dog handlers concerning the sex of the handler, and the type and results of rescue examinations. Forty one SAR dog handlers participated in the study. Together with their dogs, they participated in open-field and disaster rescue exams. It turned out that the handler's sex did not affect the results of the rescue exams. However, the obtained research results suggest that the sex of the handler may be important when choosing a rescue specialty.
... The neural stress response is mediated by the nerves of the sympathy-adrenomedullary pathway, acting quickly (in the order seconds) to immediate danger or challenge, preparing the body for a fight or flight response, being accompanied by rapid increases in sweat gland activity, heart rate, breathing rate, etc. The hormonal stress response is a much slower response mediated by the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal pathway, secreting the stress hormone cortisol, yielding a peak after a delay of about 25 min (Kirschbaum et al., 1992;Gunnar and Quevedo, 2007). ...
... The salivary cortisol response (e.g., Kirschbaum et al., 1992) describes the body's cortisol reaction to a stressing event over time, i.e., how the cortisol level rises after the stressing event, comes to a peak about 20-30 min later, and then slowly decays afterwards until it is close to zero after 90 min. This cortisol response (CoRe) can be parameterized using the equation below where g is a gain, c r is a rise time constant, and c d is a decay time constant: ...
... We use the above equation to parameterize the cortisol response to the Trier Social Stress Test as measured by Kirschbaum et al. (1992). It has been demonstrated using the Trier Social Stress Test, that the curve is different for male and female (Kirschbaum et al., 1992): Figure 2 shows that the effect of exposure to the Trier Social Stress Test lingers on in the salivary cortisol concentration up to 90 min for females and even longer for men. ...
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In order to find a stress indicator that can be used to monitor stress with wearables, we compare the almost instantaneous effects of psychological stress on skin conductance, with the effects on the stress hormone cortisol, peaking about 20–30 min later. We modeled this relation deploying a convolution of the height of the skin conductance peaks with the cortisol stress response curve, and used it to determine a skin conductance-derived estimate of stress-induced cortisol. We then conducted a first experiment to validate this model, comparing the stress-induced cortisol estimates with cortisol as measured in saliva samples. Participants (N = 46) completed stressful, boring, and performance tasks in a controlled laboratory setting. Salivary cortisol samples were taken at regular moments. Based upon the pattern of measured salivary cortisol before and after the performed stressful task we divided subjects in high-cortisol responders and low-cortisol responders. For both groups, we found substantial correlations between the skin conductance-based stress-induced cortisol estimates and the measured salivary cortisol. In addition, the (Fisher-corrected) mean within-participant correlation between these variables was found to be 0.48, which proved to be significantly different from zero. These findings support the use of the skin conductance-based stress-induced cortisol estimates as a stress indicator reflecting in-body cortisol changes.
... The cortisol response to mental stressors is greater in healthy men than in healthy women. 106 In response to psychosocial stress, the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) response was greater in men than in women regardless of their menstrual cycle, 107 and the salivary cortisol response to ACTH was comparable in men and women in the luteal phase. 106,107 In both groups, the response was greater than in women during the follicular phase. ...
... 106 In response to psychosocial stress, the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) response was greater in men than in women regardless of their menstrual cycle, 107 and the salivary cortisol response to ACTH was comparable in men and women in the luteal phase. 106,107 In both groups, the response was greater than in women during the follicular phase. 106,107 Mediators of stress probably participate in the pathophysiologic characteristics and persistence of chronic pain. ...
... 106,107 In both groups, the response was greater than in women during the follicular phase. 106,107 Mediators of stress probably participate in the pathophysiologic characteristics and persistence of chronic pain. Supportive of this concept, hydrocortisone increased the sensitivity for visceral (ie, during rectal distention) but not somatic pain in women versus men. 9 However, ratings for pain and unpleasantness were unaffected by hydrocortisone. ...
Article
Functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders (FGIDs) result from central and peripheral mechanisms, cause chronic remitting-relapsing symptoms, and are associated with comorbid conditions and impaired quality of life. This article reviews sex- and gender-based differences in the prevalence, pathophysiologic factors, clinical characteristics, and management of functional dyspepsia (FD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that together affect approximately 1 in 4 people in the United States. These conditions are more common in women. Among patients with IBS, women are more likely to have severe symptoms and coexistent anxiety or depression; constipation or bloating and diarrhea are more common in women and men, respectively, perhaps partly because defecatory disorders, which cause constipation, are more common in women. Current concepts suggest that biological disturbances (eg, persistent mucosal inflammation after acute gastroenteritis) interact with other environmental factors (eg, abuse) and psychological stressors, which influence the brain and gut to alter GI tract motility or sensation, thereby causing symptoms. By comparison to a considerable understanding of sex-based differences in the pathogenesis of visceral hypersensitivity in animal models, we know less about the contribution of these differences to FGID in humans. Slow gastric emptying and colon transit are more common in healthy women than in men, but effects of gonadal hormones on colon transit are less important than in rodents. Although increased visceral sensation partly explains symptoms, the effects of sex on visceral sensation, colonic permeability, and the gut microbiome are less prominent in humans than rodents. Whether sex or gender affects response to medications or behavioral therapy in FD or IBS is unclear because most patients in these studies are women.
... Limit of Quantification was 0.12 μg/L and the within-run and between-run variation coefficients were less than 5%. The intraindividual stability of baseline salivary cortisol levels was reported to be more stable in women (Kirschbaum, Wust, & Hellhammer, 1992). To limit the influence of the circadian rhythm (Goodman, Janson, & Wolf, 2017) on the activity of the HPA axis, the sessions started after 1 p.m., and the participants performed both stimulation days at a similar time of day (there was no significant difference in the time at which participants started both sessions, p = .795). ...
... Second, we also used a 5-min interval in between the two iTBS sessions, contrasting with most iTBS protocols using a 10-15 min interval. Third, since we only included female subjects in our study, our results cannot be simply generalized to men as gender differences are documented in response to the TSST (Kelly, Tyrka, Anderson, Price, & Carpenter, 2008;Kirschbaum et al., 1992). A fourth limitation entails the fact that we did not include a behavioral measure of subjective stress experience, notwithstanding that the VAS subscale tension scores significantly increased after being stressed by the TSST. ...
Article
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Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) delivered to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has been investigated as a promising treatment for stress and stress-related mental disorders such as major depression, yet large individual differences in responsiveness demand further exploration and optimization of its effectiveness. Clinical research suggests that resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between the DLPFC and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) can predict iTBS treatment response in depression. The present study aimed to investigate whether rsFC between the left DLPFC and ACC subregions could predict the degree to which the stress system is affected by iTBS. After assessment of baseline resting-state fMRI data, 34 healthy female participants performed the Trier Social Stress Test on two separate days, each followed by active or sham iTBS over the left DLPFC. To evaluate iTBS effects on the stress-system, salivary cortisol was measured throughout the procedure. Our results showed that a stronger negative correlation between the left DLPFC and the caudal ACC was linked to a larger attenuation of stress-system sensitivity during active, but not during sham iTBS. In conclusion, based on individual rsFC between left DLPFC and caudal ACC, iTBS could be optimized to more effectively attenuate deregulation of the stress system.
... Compared with males of the same age, females between puberty and menopause have lower HPA axis responses [37]. Males' cortisol responses have been reported to be 1.5 to 2 times higher than age-matched females' when employing the public speaking and mental arithmetic tasks [38]. Cross and Madson [39] described the sex differences of self-construals, that males have independent self-construal, but females have interdependent self-construal. ...
... The possible explanation is that the HPA axis responses are prone to be higher in males than in females who are at the ages between puberty and menopause [37]. Moreover, the sex differences of salivary cortisol responses may result from different coping styles for distressing situations between males and females [38]. Males are prone to be stressed for situations involving intellectual inferiority and performance failures (e.g., public speaking and mental arithmetic), whereas females are particularly vulnerable when facing inconsistent commitments [52,53]. ...
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Background: The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) is one of the most widely used laboratory-based psychological stress paradigms. Previous studies have shown that males have a more robust cortisol response than females in the TSST. However, the effects of sample size, speech topic, and interaction between sex and speech topic on cortisol responses in TSST remain elusive. Our goal was to evaluate these influencing factors in the TSST using salivary cortisol reactivity as an objective measure. Methods: We collected TSST research articles in Web of Science, PubMed, PsycNet, and CNKI. We only included TSST studies that had measures of salivary cortisol both before and after task completion. A total of 65 articles involving 76 sub-studies met our inclusion criteria, with a total of 5171 participants (2040 females and 3131 males). The effects of sample sizes were assessed to determine if results of studies with various sample sizes were stable. We performed multivariate meta-regression to determine the effects of speech topic, sex, and the interaction between sex and speech topic after controlling their confounding effects. Subgroup analysis of sex was conducted to detect inter-group differences. We further evaluated the baseline and peak salivary cortisol concentrations for males and females independently to detect the sources of sex differences. Results: The average effect size (i.e., Cohen's d) of salivary cortisol reactivity was 0.93, 95% CI = 0.82 to 1.04, p < .001. The small studies produced larger variations in the reported effect sizes than the large-sample studies (r = -0.24, p = .041). A sample size of 40 was necessary to provide sufficient statistical power to detect significant changes of salivary cortisol in TSST. Speech topics, sex, and sex-speech topic interaction could predict salivary cortisol responses (F(df1 = 3, df2 = 72) = 11.98, p < .001) and explained 42.68% of the total experimental variation. Sex was the only significant contributing factor (p < .00025) in the regression model. Salivary cortisol responses in males were significantly higher than in females (Q B = 42.89, df = 1, p < .001). Further, significant differences between males and females were detected at baseline (t = -2.03, df = 74, p = .046) and peak (t = -4.96, df = 74, p < .001). Conclusions: The TSST effectively induces stress response as measured by salivary cortisol change. Forty samples is the minimum sample size for detecting the robust salivary cortisol responses. We confirmed that males have more robust salivary cortisol reactivity than females in TSST. Speech topics that we tested did not significantly contribute to differences in salivary cortisol responses. No significant interaction between sex and speech topic on salivary cortisol responses was detected.
... A high level of cortisol can lead to inhibition of mental abilities and, thus, to poor performance (Doan et al., 2007). The reason why men seem to be more inclined to choking under pressure is that men's cortisol level increases faster than women's (Kirschbaum et al., 1992). However, Klaassen and Magnus (2014) calculate for tennis matches in Wimbledon that, compared to their typical performance level, the performance decrease at important points is more pronounced for women than men. ...
Article
Our field experiment analyzes the influence of psychological traits on performance in sequential games. It uses handball penalties thrown under individual, team, or tournament incentives in the ABBA sequence. Considering the single moves of these games, player A and player B are taking turns in being the first-mover. We find no significant first-mover advantage. However, we observe that player A performs better than player B under tournament incentives and if he or she is confident enough.
... The TSST was first proposed by researchers at the University of Trier and has been a classic paradigm used to induce acute stress in a laboratory (Kirschbaum et al., 1992(Kirschbaum et al., , 1993. The modified version of the TSST used in the present study can induce stress response similar to that of the original (Buchanan et al., 2012). ...
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Psychological factors can modulate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activity toward stressors. Animal studies demonstrated that uncontrollability was one critical factor associated with HPA axis stress response, but the results in human studies were inconsistent. The current study adopted a standardized laboratory stress induction procedure, the Trier Social Stress Test (the TSST), as the stressor to regulate the objective controllability level, and young adult participants were asked to rate their subjectively perceived control level toward the stressor and measured their cortisol stress responses ( N =54; 19 females and 35 males) to address this concern. Results showed that participants’ perceived control on the TSST was related to the cortisol stress response. In other words, under the stress of a certain objective controllability level, the lower the subjectively perceived control level, the greater the HPA axis response. This finding suggested that, in addition to objective controllability, subjectively perceived control is a psychological factor that regulates activation of the HPA axis in young adults.
... Intraassay coefficient of variance (CV) was 7.77% and inter-assay CV was 4.18% in our lab. Salivary cortisol levels (µg/dL) are highly correlated with serum levels and typically peak at 30 min following the initiation of a stressor task [32]. Physiological cortisol reactivities were calculated as the difference between the concentration obtained at baseline and 0-, 20-, and 40-min post-task completion, as the immediate, acute, and prolonged cortisol reactivity, respectively, in agreement with previously published studies [14,33,34]. ...
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Stress is implicated in psychosis etiology and exacerbation, but pathogenesis toward brain network alterations in schizophrenia remain unclear. White matter connects limbic and prefrontal regions responsible for stress response regulation, and white matter tissues are also vulnerable to glucocorticoid aberrancies. Using a novel psychological stressor task, we studied cortisol stress responses over time and white matter microstructural deficits in schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD). Cortisol was measured at baseline, 0-, 20-, and 40-min after distress induction by a psychological stressor task in 121 SSD patients and 117 healthy controls (HC). White matter microstructural integrity was measured by 64-direction diffusion tensor imaging. Fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter tracts were related to cortisol responses and then compared to general patterns of white matter tract deficits in SSD identified by mega-analysis. Differences between 40-min post-stress and baseline, but not acute reactivity post-stress, was significantly elevated in SSD vs HC, time × diagnosis interaction F2.3,499.9 = 4.1, p = 0.013. All SSD white matter tracts were negatively associated with prolonged cortisol reactivity but all tracts were positively associated with prolonged cortisol reactivity in HC. Individual tracts most strongly associated with prolonged cortisol reactivity were also most impacted in schizophrenia in general as established by the largest schizophrenia white matter study (r = −0.56, p = 0.006). Challenged with psychological stress, SSD and HC mount similar cortisol responses, and impairments arise in the resolution timeframe. Prolonged cortisol elevations are associated with the white matter deficits in SSD, in a pattern previously associated with schizophrenia in general.
... Sleep quantity did not affect TSST outcome in men or women. The authors proposed that sex-hormone associated differences in HPA axis responsiveness to stress (Kirschbaum et al., 1992) may outweigh the importance of sleep. ...
... Jamaican and Nepali children come from wildly different backgrounds, which are vary likely to affect how the children experience and respond to psychological and physiological stressors. Gender, age, previous experience, temperament and perceived control have all been suggested as reasons for differences in HPA reactivity (Nachmias et al. 1996;Flinn and England, 1997;Hart et al. 1995;Kiess et al. 1995;Kirschbaum et al. 1992). ...
Thesis
Growth retardation (stunting) is a major public health problem in developing countries, where 38% of children under 5 years old are short for their age, and many have poor levels of mental development along with behavioural abnormalities. Animal research suggests that an altered stress response may contribute to the negative outcomes associated with undernutrition. This dissertation research investigated the associations of stunting, stress physiology (hypothalamic-adrenal and autonomic nervous system activity) and behaviour. Study 1 compared 30 stunted children with 24 non-stunted children, all of whom were participants in a prospective, longitudinal case-control study of children who were stunted in early childhood. Study 2 compared 31 stunted children with 31 non-stunted children, all of whom were newly recruited for the study. All children in both studies were 8-10 years old and lived in the same poor areas of Kingston, Jamaica. A test session of physiological and physical stressors was administered, and baseline and response levels of salivary cortisol, heart rate, and urinary catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine) were measured. Behaviours were observed during an interview and frustrating task. As compared with the non-stunted children, stunted children had significantly higher salivary cortisol levels, heart rates, and urinary epinephrine levels. Stunted children also vocalized less, were more inhibited, less attentive, and more frustrated than non-stunted children. After controlling for birthweight or social background, maternal and child IQ, the differences in cortisol level, heart rate, epinephrine, and inhibition remained significant. Study 3 compared 64 stunted with 64 non-stunted school-children from the same poor areas of Kathmandu, Nepal. A modified version of the Jamaican test session was administered, and levels of cortisol and heart rate were measured during testing and also during a baseline. Stunted Nepali children showed a blunted physiological response to psychological stressors, but were not different from the non-stunted children in baseline measures. These findings suggest that childhood growth retardation is associated with changes in physiological arousal, and that the relationship may be mediated by several socio-cultural, environmental, and physical variables.
... Overall, there are few differences in average baseline cortisol levels between (presumably cisgender) men and women, but experimental studies do identify differences in responses to psychosocial stress. For example, men are found to show greater HPA axis responsivity (i.e., cortisol secretion) to lab-based social stressors such as public speaking compared to women (Kirschbaum et al., 1992). On the other hand, women are sometimes (but not always) found to have a higher CAR than men (Almeida et al., 2009;Fries et al., 2009;Hill et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Background We are witnessing renewed debates regarding definitions and boundaries of human gender/sex, where lines of genetics, gonadal hormones, and secondary sex characteristics are drawn to defend strict binary categorizations, with attendant implications for the acceptability and limits of gender identity and diversity. Aims Many argue for the need to recognize the entanglement of gender/sex in humans and the myriad ways that gender experience becomes biology; translating this theory into practice in human biology research is essential. Biological anthropology is well poised to contribute to these societal conversations and debates. To do this effectively, a reconsideration of our own conceptions of gender/sex, gender identity, and sexuality is necessary. Methods In this article, we discuss biological variation associated with gender/sex and propose ways forward to ensure we are engaging with gender/sex diversity. We base our analysis in the concept of “biological normalcy,” which allows consideration of the relationships between statistical distributions and normative views. We address the problematic reliance on binary categories, the utilization of group means to represent typical biologies, and document ways in which binary norms reinforce stigma and inequality regarding gender/sex, gender identity, and sexuality. Discussion and Conclusions We conclude with guidelines and methodological suggestions for how to engage gender/sex and gender identity in research. Our goal is to contribute a framework that all human biologists can use, not just those who work with gender or sexually diverse populations. We hope that in bringing this perspective to bear in human biology, which novel ideas and applications will emerge from within our own discipline.
... The measurement of salivary cortisol is much better than serum cortisol level for assessment of hypothalamus-pituitaryadrenal activity as it eliminates the need to care for between-subject differences in cortisol binding globulin or within-subject changes [98]. However, it is understood that cortisol is strongly linked with psychological and emotional states [99][100][101][102][103]. Moreover, a relationship has been found between eye temperature, salivary and plasma cortisol levels suggesting that eye temperature may also be associated with activation of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal activity in animals [104,105], but regarding load carrying, this should be interpreted by keeping in mind gait symmetry and behavioral data [25]. ...
Article
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There are approximately 112 million working equids in developing countries, many of which are associated with brick kilns. Brick kilns and overloading are associated with welfare problems in working equids. Understanding equids’ abilities and influencing factors are important for both effective performance and welfare. Traditionally, measurement of the amount of ‘bone’ was used, and more recently, gait symmetry has been identified as a potential marker for loading capacity. Assessment of stride parameters and gait kinematics provides insights into adaptations to loading and may help determine cut-off loads. Physiological factors such as the ability to regain normal heart rates shortly after work is an important tool for equine fitness assessment and a more accurate measure of load-carrying capacity than absolute heart rate. Oxidative stress, plasma lactate, and serum creatine kinase activity are reliable biochemical indicators of loading ability. For monitoring stress, salivary cortisol is superior to serum cortisol level for assessment of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and is related to eye temperatures, but this has yet to be interpreted in terms of load-carrying ability in equids. Further research is needed to standardize the evidence-based load-carrying capacity of working horses and donkeys.
... The sample used in each of the experiments also does not take into consideration potential effects of sex, hormonal contraceptive use or menstrual cycle phase, which have previously been shown to influence cortisol response (Duchesne & Pruessner, 2013;Kirschbaum, Wüst, et al., 1992;Roche et al., 2013). However, some studies in young adults examining the impact of mild-to-moderate stress on memory have reported no effects of sex, (Beckner et al., 2006;Olver et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Physical stress, such as from the cold-pressor test, has been robustly associated with altered memory retrieval, but it is less clear whether the same happens following psychosocial stress. Studies using psychosocial stressors report mixed effects on memory, leading to uncertainty about the common cognitive impact of both forms of stress. The current study uses a series of four carefully designed experiments, each differing by only a single critical factor to determine the effects of psychosocial stress on specific aspects of episodic memory. In three experiments we induced psychosocial stress after participants encoded words, then assessed retrieval of those words after a prolonged delay. These experiments found no effect of post-encoding stress on recognition of neutral words or cued recall of word-pairs, but a small effect on recollection of semantically-related words. There was, however, positive relationships within the stress group between measures of stress (cortisol in experiment 1 and self-reported-anxiety in experiment 3) and recollection of single word stimuli. In the fourth experiment, we found that psychosocial stress immediately before retrieval did not influence word recognition. Recollection, particularly for semantically-related stimuli, may therefore be more susceptible to the effects of psychosocial stress, and future studies can assess how this relates to other forms of stress. Overall, our findings suggest that the effects of psychosocial stress on episodic memory may be more subtle than expected, warranting further exploration in larger studies.
... Figure 1 Anxiety in terms of Eysenck's five levels of description 21 Figure 2 Spielberger's conception of the relationship between state and trait anxiety 22 Figure 3 Gray's behavioural inhibitions system, taken from Rawlins, Feldon, & Gray, 1980) 23 Figure 4 A representation of a semantic network (taken 6om Bower & Cohen, 1982) 46 Figure 5 Hypothetical relationship between the three response components of anxiety ....50 Figure 6 Hypothetical relationship between cognitive processes and anxiety responses ...51 Figure 7 Arrangement of laboratory in Experiment two 75 Figure 8 The hypothetical interaction effect of state and trait anxiety on ABIs 94 Figure 9 Effect of test time on attentional response to exam threatening words in high and low trait anxious participants. (Taken from MacLeod , page 665.) 96 Figure 10 Timeline of procedural events in Al' Absi et al. (1997) 115 Figure 11 Mean salivary Cortisol responses to a psychosocial stressor, adapted from experiment one and two Kirschbaum, Wust and Hellhammer (1992) 119 Figure 12 Mean state anxiety scores for each Mood Induction Procedure (MIP) group (taken 6om Mogg, Kentish & Bradley, 1993) 122 Figure 13 Sarstedt salivette for the collection of saliva (Illustration taken 6om Sarstedt "Patient instructions for the use of the Salivette" leaflet.) 126 Figure 14 Arrangement of equipment in experiment 5 127 Figure 15 The four possible groups resulting from high/low splits on the Marlowe-Crowne and trait STAI scales 137 Figure 16 Mean severe and moderate dot probe ABIs by high and low STAI and Marlowe-Crowne groups 141 Figure 17 Mean reaction times, irrespective of probe position and severity of stimuli, by high and low STAI and Marlowe-Crovme groups 143 ...
Thesis
p>Study one used the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to record subjective perception of anxiety. In order to measure attentional bias two methodologies were used concurrently. A computer-administered emotional Stroop was used which tested participants' attention to physical and social threat words, both when presented subliminally and supraliminally. A picture dot probe technique directly measured attention to and avoidance of severe and moderately threatening pictures (taken from the IAPS). 40 undergraduate participants attended two sessions two weeks apart in a test-retest design. No significant attentional bias effects were found. Study two employed the same design as study one with an additional dependant variable of electrodermal activity (EDA). No significant attentional bias effects were found. Study three investigated the source of negative findings on the cognitive measures further by using a sample of 33 non-student participants and comparing the convergent validity of a paper version and a computer version of the Stroop task used in studies one and two. Again, no significant attentional bias effects were found with either the computer or paper version. The effect of elevation of state anxiety was investigated in study four by testing 43 undergraduate participants two months and one week prior to their final exams. Even in the high state situation, one week before exams, there was no evidence of attentional bias. The lack of physiological effects were explained with reference to the literature which indicated that the effects were often elusive, particularly when only one dependent physiological measure was used. The lack of attentional bias effects were explained by re-analysis of the existing literature.</p
... The stress induced by the TSST was qualified as social because the protocol combines key elements of social evaluative threat and uncontrollability to produce physiological and psychological stress responses in humans [32] [33]. Within the original protocol [34][26], a high level of social-evaluative threat was induced by a public speaking in front of an unresponsive audience and completing a surprise mental arithmetic test. In the present study, we used a slightly modified version, the participants performed a stressful public speaking (a self-presentation and an unexpected arithmetic task) in front of an audience composed of one experimenter. ...
Article
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As humans, we experience social stress in countless everyday-life situations. Giving a speech in front of an audience, passing a job interview, and similar experiences all lead us to go through stress states that impact both our psychological and physiological states. Therefore, studying the link between stress and physiological responses had become a critical societal issue, and recently, research in this field has grown in popularity. However, publicly available datasets have limitations. In this article, we propose a new dataset, UBFC-Phys, collected with and without contact from participants living social stress situations. A wristband was used to measure contact blood volume pulse (BVP) and electrodermal activity (EDA) signals. Video recordings allowed to compute remote pulse signals, using remote photoplethysmography (RPPG), and facial expression features. Pulse rate variability (PRV) was extracted from BVP and RPPG signals. Our dataset permits to evaluate the possibility of using video-based physiological measures compared to more conventional contact-based modalities. The goal of this article is to present both the dataset, which we make publicly available, and experimental results of contact and non-contact data comparison, as well as stress recognition. We obtained a stress state recognition accuracy of 85.48%, achieved by remote PRV features.
... 10 The effect size (Cohen's d) for this pre-planned contrast was estimated using a procedure suitable for calculation based on multiple group means. 26 Because sex has been shown to affect cortisol levels, 27 the analysis was repeated with additional fixed effects for sex, alone and in 2-way interactions with group and condition, to rule out sex differences as a confound. Additionally, mean baseline concentrations were compared between groups and conditions using 2-way ANOVA. ...
Article
Introduction Military operations often involve intense exposure to stressors combined with acute sleep deprivation, while military personnel also experience high prevalence of chronic sleep deficiency from insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, the impact of acute and chronic sleep deficiency on physiologic stressor responses is poorly understood. In a controlled laboratory study with normal sleepers and individuals with chronic sleep-onset insomnia, we measured responses to an acute stressor administered in a sleep deprivation condition or a control condition. Methods Twenty-two adults (aged 22-40 years; 16 females)—11 healthy normal sleepers and 11 individuals with sleep-onset insomnia—completed a 5-day (4-night) in-laboratory study. After an adaptation day and a baseline day, subjects were assigned to a 38-hour total sleep deprivation (TSD) condition or a control condition; the study ended with a recovery day. At 8:00 PM after 36 hours awake in the sleep deprivation condition or 12 hours awake in the control condition, subjects underwent a Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST). Salivary cortisol was measured immediately before the MAST at 8:00 PM, every 15 minutes after the MAST from 8:15 PM until 9:15 PM, and 30 minutes later at 9:45 PM. Baseline salivary cortisol was collected in the evening of the baseline day. Additionally, before and immediately upon completion of the MAST, self-report ratings of affect and pain were collected. Results The MAST elicited a stressor response in both normal sleepers and individuals with sleep-onset insomnia, regardless of the condition, as evidenced by increases in negative affect and pain ratings. Relative to baseline, cortisol levels increased immediately following the MAST, peaked 30 minutes later, and then gradually returned to pre-MAST levels. At the cortisol peak, there was a significant difference across groups and conditions, reflecting a pronounced blunting of the cortisol response in the normal sleepers in the TSD condition and the sleep-onset insomnia group in both the TSD and control conditions. Conclusions Blunted stressor reactivity as a result of sleep deficiency, whether acute or chronic, may reflect reduced resiliency attributable to allostatic load and may put warfighters at increased risk in high-stakes, rapid response scenarios.
... Gender (coded as dummy variable female that is 1 for female participants and 0 otherwise) was included in all the analyses because in past studies it has been found to influence stress reactions (e.g., Kirschbaum, Wüst, & Hellhammer, 1992), which was also the case in the current study (see section 4.3.1). ...
... As such, we might expect that opposite-sex work-related interactions produce greater elevations in cortisol for women when the context is competitive. On the other hand, previous research indicates that men's cortisol typically increases more than women's cortisol in evaluative contexts (Kirschbaum et al., 1992) and, as such, one might predict that men will demonstrate greater increases in cortisol following competitive work-related interactions. ...
Article
Previous research indicates that circulating concentrations of cortisol increase during interactions with opposite-sex others in the presence of mating cues. However, it remains unknown whether this phenomenon extends to work-related tasks in which explicit mating cues are absent. In a series of two studies, we assessed women’s and men’s salivary cortisol concentrations before and after completing a cooperative brainstorming (Study 1) and competitive negotiation (Study 2) task wherein they worked with same- or opposite-sex partners. Both studies revealed significant participant sex by partner sex interactions. Specifically, male participants demonstrated significantly larger increases in salivary cortisol concentrations when working alongside opposite-sex as opposed to same-sex partners on a cooperative task. In contrast, female participants demonstrated significantly larger increases in salivary cortisol concentrations when working with opposite-sex as opposed to same-sex partners on a competitive task. Opposite-sex teams also produced fewer novel ideas relative to same-sex teams on the cooperative brainstorming task; however, differences in cortisol did not account for this effect. Our research extends previous research demonstrating elevated cortisol during opposite-sex interactions in the presence of explicit mating cues to a work-related context that is divorced from mating cues.
... Prenatal stress as a four category variable and postnatal stress as a five category variable were considered in separate regression models and the outcome (the TSST) was considered in three different ways; summary measures, response curves and responder category. We reported separately by sex based on prior evidence for sex differences in foetal programming (Carpenter et al., 2017;Glover and Hill, 2012;Sandman et al., 2013), cortisol response (Herbison et al., 2016;Kirschbaum et al., 1992) and risk associations between early life stress and mental health (Herbison et al., 2017). For all models sex-specific results were estimated by inclusion of an interaction term between sex and the stress event measure under investigation. ...
Article
Background Early life stress exposures may cause dysregulation of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA)-axis and cortisol production, with timing and sex-specific effects. Studies examining the impact of early life stress on cortisol responses to stress have focused on severe trauma and have produced inconsistent results. The aim of this study was to investigate whether common early life stressors, experienced prenatally or throughout childhood and adolescence, play a role in the dysregulation of the HPA-axis in early adulthood. Methods Exposures to common life stress events were examined prenatally and as longitudinal trajectories of stress exposure from birth to age 17 in males and females from Gen2 of the Raine Study. At age 18 years, 986 participants were assessed for their salivary cortisol response to a psychosocial stressor - the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Results In males there was an association between high prenatal stress exposure at 18 weeks gestation and a heightened TSST response. We found evidence for sex-specific associations with increasing stress exposure during adolescence (the ascending trajectory) whereby males were more likely to be non-responders to the TSST and females were more likely to be responders. Conclusion Our results point to sex differences in how stress exposure in-utero and exposure increasing during adolescence may affect regulation of the HPA-axis later in life. However, overall common life stress events experienced in-utero, during childhood and adolescence show limited impact on the HPA-axis stress response in early adulthood.
... However, smoking may lead to development of PMS, or worsen affective symptoms in women with PMS, because nicotine has effects on neurocircuitry that increases susceptibility to environmental stressors. Acutely, nicotine potentiates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, resulting in hypersecretion of cortisol and alterations in the activity of the associated monoamine neurotransmitter system (43)(44)(45). However, repeated administration of nicotine results in neuroadaptations which eventually oppose the acute effects of drugs (46)(47)(48). ...
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Results of basic science studies demonstrate shared actions of endogenous neuroactive steroid hormones and drugs of abuse on neurotransmission. As such, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be associated with smoking, however, results from studies examining this relationship have been mixed. Following PRISMA guidelines, we extracted unique studies examining the relationship between smoking and PMS. We used the escalc () function in R to compute the log odds ratios and corresponding sampling variance for each study. We based quality assessment on the nature of PMS diagnosis and smoking estimation, confounding adjustment, participation rate, and a priori specification of target population. Our final sample included 13 studies, involving 25,828 study participants. Smoking was associated with an increased risk for PMS [OR = 1.56 (95% CI: 1.25–1.93), p < 0.0001]. Stratified by diagnosis, the effect size estimate was higher for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) [OR = 3.15 (95% CI: 2.20–4.52), p < 0.0001] than for PMS [OR = 1.27 (95% CI: 1.16–1.39), p < 0.0001]. We review some of the basic mechanisms for the observed association between smoking and PMS. Given nicotine's rewarding effects, increased smoking behavior may be a mechanism to alleviate affective symptoms of PMS. However, smoking may lead to worsening of PMS symptoms because nicotine has effects on neurocircuitry that increases susceptibility to environmental stressors. Indeed, prior evidence shows that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is already sub-optimal in PMS, hence, smoking likely further deteriorates it. Combined, this complicates the clinical course for the treatment of both PMS and Tobacco Use Disorder in this population.
... Sex-based differences in HPA axis and cortisol concentrations are thought to develop at puberty, but reported results are not consistent (Kirschbaum, Wüst, & Hellhammer, 1992;Raven & Taylor, 1996). Nejad et al. (2016) also did not find differences between male and female cortisol concentrations in their analysis of modern tooth dentine. ...
Article
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Objectives Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone produced through activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. It is known as the “stress hormone” for its primary role in the body's stress response and has been the focus of much modern clinical research. Within archaeology, only a few studies have analyzed cortisol in human remains and these have been restricted to hair (Webb et al., 2010; Webb, White, van Uum, & Longstaffe, 2015a; Webb, White, van Uum, & Longstaffe, 2015b). This study examines the utility of dentine and enamel, which survive well archaeologically, as possible reservoirs for detectable levels of cortisol. Materials and methods Then, 69 teeth from 65 individuals from five Roman and Post‐Roman sites in France were tested via competitive enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to assess and quantify the cortisol concentrations present within tooth dentine and enamel. Results In both tooth dentine and enamel, detectable concentrations of cortisol were identified in multiple teeth. However, concentrations were low and not all teeth yielded results that were measurable through cortisol ELISA. Differences in cortisol values between dentine and enamel could suggest different uptake mechanisms or timing. Discussion These results suggest that cortisol is incorporated within tooth structures and merits further investigation in both modern and archaeological contexts. Analysis of the results through liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometry would verify current results and might yield values that could be better integrated with published cortisol studies. Future studies of cortisol in tooth structures would greatly expand the research potential of cortisol in the past and could have implications for studies of human stress across deep time.
... In older adults (ages 70-79), women had greater cortisol and adrenocorticotrophin hormone response to a driving simulation stress than men (Seeman et al., 2001(Seeman et al., , 1995. Nevertheless, contrasting evidence is found in the literature; adolescent and adult men had higher adrenocorticotrophic hormone and cortisol release than women in response to a social stress (Kirschbaum et al., 1999(Kirschbaum et al., , 1992. In a follow up study, cortisol detected in the saliva was similar in men and women in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, whereas women taking oral contraceptives or in the follicular phase had significantly lower bioavailable cortisol (Kirschbaum et al., 1999), highlighting the influence of female hormones in the stress response. ...
Article
Disordered eating is often associated with marked psychological and emotional distress, and severe adverse impact on quality of life. Several factors can influence eating behavior and drive food consumption in excess of energy requirements for homeostasis. It is well established that stress and negative affect contribute to the aetiology of eating disorders and weight gain, and there is substantial evidence suggesting sex differences in sub-clinical and clinical types of overeating. This review will examine how negative affect and stress shape eating behaviors, and how the relationship between the physiological, endocrine, and neural responses to stress and eating behaviors differs between men and women. We will examine several drivers of overeating and explore possible mechanisms underlying sex differences in eating behavior.
... There was substantial variability in individual susceptibility to the manipulation, with some individuals reporting increased anxiety after the control manipulation, and others individuals reporting very little change in anxiety after the anxiety manipulation 36,37,39 . To account for individual differences in response to the manipulation, and for consistency with Study 2a, we therefore used the change in SSAI as a predictor of informationseeking behavior in all analyses. ...
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Seeking information when anxious may help reduce uncertainty and guide decision-making. If information is negative or confusing, however, this may increase anxiety further. Information gathered under anxiety can thus be beneficial and/or damaging. Here, we examine whether anxiety leads to a general increase in information-seeking, or rather to situation-dependent changes in the type of information sought. In two controlled laboratory studies, we show that both trait and induced anxiety selectively increased information-seeking. In particular, anxiety did not enhance the general tendency to seek information, nor did it alter the valence of the information gathered. Rather anxiety increased information-seeking specifically in response to large changes in the environment. This was true even when the cause of the anxiety was not directly related to the information sought. As anxious individuals have been shown to have problems learning in changing environments, greater information-seeking in such environments may be an adaptive compensatory mechanism.
... There was substantial variability in individual susceptibility to the manipulation, with some individuals reporting increased anxiety after the control manipulation, and others individuals reporting very little change in anxiety after the anxiety manipulation 36,37,39 . To account for individual differences in response to the manipulation, and for consistency with Study 2a, we therefore used the change in SSAI as a predictor of informationseeking behavior in all analyses. ...
... The physiological activity comprises the detection of elevated heart rate (Ditzen et al., 2007), specific cardiovascular activity (Epstein & Clarke, 1970;P. J. Feldman et al., 2004;Fredrickson et al., 2000;Gramer & Sprintschnik, 2008), cortisol responses, and associated activations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (Kirschbaum et al., 1992;Mikolajczak et al., 2008), and, to some extent, immunological modifications (Breznitz et al., 1998). ...
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Most future educational and career transitions represent major life events that individuals anticipate to a considerable extent, possibly with multiple emotions at the same time. However, few studies have examined the emotions that individuals experience when they anticipate a future educational or career transition, imagine how it will occur, the consequences it will have for them, and visualize their coping efforts. The aims of the present dissertation are fourfold. First, we explore individuals’ combinations of multiple future-oriented emotions at the prospect of three major educational and career transitions: (a) the transition from high school to higher education, (b) the transition from higher education to the job market, and (c) the transition from unemployment to employment. Due to the rather exploratory nature of our first research question, our second objective pertains to the replication of these combinations and the investigation of similarities between several groups of individuals based on (a) gender, (b) institutional context, and (c) the temporal distance before the transition. Third, we examine several antecedents of individuals’ combinations of future-oriented emotions. These antecedents ranged from career-related constructs such as career decidedness and career adaptability to affective mechanisms such as cognitive appraisals, trait affect, and emotion regulation. Finally, we examine the behavioral effects of future-oriented emotions in terms of anticipated vocational planning and effort. Overall, the present dissertation brings several implications in highlighting the combinations of future-oriented emotions that individuals experience when anticipating important vocational transitions, a research strand that is scarce both in vocational and emotion research. From a practical point of view, the evidence of several combinations—and the differences and similarities among several groups or contexts—carries practical implications for designing and implementing career-related interventions. Finally, examining antecedents and outcomes of future-oriented emotions combinations underlines the importance of taking emotional anticipation processes into account when individuals prepare for and cope with major educational and career transitions.
... Second, we found a sex effect with male African elephants having a lower SACort than females. Evidence from studies of GC levels determined in blood, saliva or excreta in the same and other species partly supports (dwarf hamster: [43]; human: [118]) and partly contradicts the sex difference found in the present study (African elephant: [22]; great apes: [42,94]; spotted hyena: [47]; domestic pig: [119]). It has been proposed that the effect of sex steroids on HPA axis activity determines sex differences in GC responses [1]. ...
Article
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Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure to a novel object (NOV) for enrichment induced a salivary cortisol response indicative of activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and which factors determine individual variation in this regard in captive African elephants. We repeatedly sampled the saliva of ten animals (three zoos) for the analysis of cortisol (SACort) before and up to 60 min (in 10–15 min intervals) after the onset of PRT (three repeats) or NOV (nine repeats), which lasted 10 min. There was considerable individual variation in SACort in response to PRT or NOV. Using mixed models, we were able to control these and to reveal that PRT was associated with high SACort before and relatively low SACort after PRT, while NOV induced a moderate SACort increase. The individual differences in SACort were related to age and sex (NOV), while the effects of zoo, handling method (free vs. protected contact) and reproductive and social status were variable. We conclude that positive affective states, such as anticipation or arousal, should be taken into account when interpreting the differences in the SACort responses between PRT and NOV. In addition, understanding the individuality of stress will support management decisions aimed at promoting captive elephant welfare.
... Developmental factors and sex differences have been found in cortisol secretion, regardless of parental mood. Female youth have been found to have higher average daily cortisol secretion than male youth (Schreiber et al., 2006), but males commonly evidence higher cortisol output than females in response to stress (Davis & Emory, 1995;Kirschbaum et al., 1992). The pattern of stress reactivity in the context of social stressors is exaggerated for those experiencing depression, with cortisol levels in males even higher and females even lower (Powers et al., 2016.) ...
Article
One of the most consistent biological findings in the study of affective disorders is that those with depression commonly show abnormal cortisol response, which suggests dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Children of parents with mood disorders offer the opportunity to explore the biological pathways that may confer risk for psychopathology. This review explores basal and reactive cortisol in the offspring of parents who are currently depressed or have had a history of a depressive or bipolar disorder. Using PRISMA guidelines, search terms yielded 2002 manuscripts. After screening, 87 of these manuscripts were included. Results from the literature suggest that while the degree and direction of dysregulation varies, offspring of a parent with depression tend to show elevations in both basal (particularly morning and evening) and reactive (tentatively for social stressors) cortisol levels. There were few studies focused on offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. This review also discusses implications and recommendations for future research regarding the HPA axis in the intergenerational transmission of depressive disorders.
... Caregiving is often a long-term challenge; the emotional impact of taking care of the pa- tient alone at a younger age of life also seems challenging for the student participants. A study conducted by Kirshbaum et al. [12] showed that mean cortisol responses were 1.5-2-fold higher in men compared to women, which is contradictory with the current study. It could be because of cognitive and/or emotional responses to upsetting psychosocial events, which can affect cortisol secretion regardless of gender. ...
Article
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Introduction: Patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer are often subjected to an array of unprecedented challenges, which have seldom been scrutinized in other cancers, such as prolonged restrictions in their capaci-ty to breathe, speak, and swallow, considerable deformity, and an alleviated risk of death. These predicaments have consequential repercussions on the psychological well-being of patients, and they debilitate the mental, social, and financial facet of not only the patient's but also of the caregiver's lives, placing them in a state of constant uncertainty while also deteriorating their physical and mental health. Aim of the study was to assess the burden on the caregiver and their quality of life (QOL) using the Caregiver Quality of Life Index-Cancer (CQOLC) scale by comparing the sali-vary cortisol levels of caregivers at different intervals of the radiotherapy session. Materials and methods: The current study was a prospective cohort study conducted on 28 caregivers of patients undergoing radiotherapy, aged 15 years and more. The entire collection of saliva samples of each of the caregivers was collected on day 1, day 14, and day 21 of the radiotherapy session while simultaneously handing out the CQOLC for them to fill out. The samples were later analysed using an ELISA kit to measure the cortisol levels. Results: On day 1 the QOL score was 1.97 ±0.28, on day 14 the QOL score was 2.53 ±0.31, and on day 21 the QOL score was 3.15 ±0.26, with a p-value of 0.0001 over the entire session. There was no statistically significant change in the salivary cortisol level. P < 0.05 is considered statistically significant. Conclusions: The assessed quality of life portrayed a progressive decline over the calculated period, concluding that the radiotherapy sessions of the patients subjected the caregivers to distress. It was also found that the males had a noteworthy diminution in QOL compared to the females; however, there was no signifi-cant change in the cortisol level over the calculated period.
... The inconsistency regarding the direction of relationship between cortisol and suicide reflects a complicated relationship. It has been suggested that perhaps sex differences may play a role in the impact of stress on cortisol responding in humans (e.g., Kelly et al., 2008;Gunnar et al., 2009;Kirschbaum et al., 1999;Kirschbaum et al., 1992;Stoney et al., 1987). However, a meta-analysis found no evidence that sex moderates the relationship between cortisol and suicide (O'Connor et al., 2016). ...
Article
Suicide is a complex public health problem that is the result of a number of intertwined biopsychosocial factors. The diathesis-stress model suggests that suicide is the result of an interaction between genetic vulnerability and environmental stressors. Chronic stress and trauma contribute to biologic adaptations, including hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation, that contribute to the degradation of regulatory mechanisms and promote wear and tear the body, represented by allostatic load (AL). AL has been associated with a number of negative outcomes, including mental health problems and suicide. Fortunately, there are pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions that are effective at reducing AL and reversing its effects. Thus, AL may provide a construct for supporting early risk identification, prevention, and treatment of suicide. AL biomarkers that are amenable to measurable change, effective treatments to reduce AL and perhaps help prevent suicide, and how to best tailor them to the individual and societal levels are important avenues of therapeutic inquiry.
... Furthermore, sex differences are often cited as one explanation for inconsistent results. For example, stronger HPA axis responses to standard psychosocial stress have been found in men than in women (Kirschbaum & Hellhammer, 1994;Kirschbaum, Wüst, & Hellhammer, 1992;Kudielka & Kirschbaum, 2005;Stephens et al., 2016). Both gender socialization and biological sex are often listed as reasons for this difference (Chetkowski et al., 1986;Strahler et al., 2017). ...
... For example, female rats have been shown to have higher baseline plasma corticosterone levels and increased responsiveness to stressors compared to males (Kitay, 1961). Conversely, a human study has shown that stress anticipation leads to higher levels of cortisol release in males than females (Kirschbaum et al., 1992). ...
Article
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Adolescence is a critical period of development with increased sensitivity toward psychological stressors. Many psychiatric conditions emerge during adolescence and animal studies have shown that that acute stress has long-term effects on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function and behavior. We recently demonstrated that acute stress produces long-term electrophysiological changes in locus coeruleus and long-lasting anxiety-like behavior in adolescent male rats. Based on prior reports of increased stress sensitivity during adolescence and increased sensitivity of female locus coeruleus toward corticotropin releasing factor, we hypothesized that the same acute stressor would cause different behavioral and physiological responses in adolescent female and adult male and female rats one week after stressor exposure. In this study, we assessed age and sex differences in how an acute psychological stressor affects corticosterone release, anxiety-like behavior, and locus coeruleus physiology at short- and long-term intervals. All groups of animals except adult female responded to stress with elevated corticosterone levels at the acute time point. One week after stressor exposure, adolescent females showed decreased firing of locus coeruleus neurons upon current injection and increased exploratory behavior compared to controls. The results were in direct contrast to changes observed in adolescent males, which showed increased anxiety-like behavior and increased spontaneous and induced firing in locus coeruleus neurons a week after stressor exposure. Adult males and females were both behaviorally and electrophysiologically resilient to the long-term effects of acute stress. Therefore, there may be a normal developmental trajectory for locus coeruleus neurons which promotes stress resilience in adults, but stressor exposure during adolescence perturbs their function. Furthermore, while locus coeruleus neurons are more sensitive to stressor exposure during adolescence, the effect varies between adolescent males and females. These findings suggest that endocrine, behavioral, and physiological responses to stress vary among animals of different age and sex, and therefore these variables should be taken into account when selecting models and designing experiments to investigate the effects of stress. These differences in animals may also allude to age and sex differences in the prevalence of various psychiatric illnesses within the human population.
... Here we assess the relative effects of childhood and adulthood stress on brain macro-and micro-structure, cognition and mental health diagnoses in a large cohort, using data from the UK Biobank (https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk). Although explored as a whole cohort, we also explore these effects separately for males and females to identify any potential differences in outcomes given established variation in stress response between sexes (Kirschbaum et al., 1992;Bale and Epperson, 2015). ...
Article
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Repeated overstimulation of the stress response system, caused by exposure to prolonged highly stressful experiences, is thought to affect brain structure, cognitive ability, and mental health. We tested the effects of highly stressful experiences during childhood and adulthood using data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale national health and biomedical study with over 500,000 participants. To do this, we defined four groups with high or low levels of childhood and/or adulthood stress. We then used T1-and diffusion-weighted MRI data to assess the macrostructure of grey matter and microstructure of white matter within limbic brain regions, commonly associated with the stress response. We also compared executive function and working memory between these groups. Our findings suggest that in females, higher levels of Childhood stress were associated with reduced connectivity within the posterior thalamic radiation and cingulum of the hippocampus. In males however, higher levels of Adulthood stress is associated with similar changes in brain microstructure in the posterior thalamic radiation and cingulum of the hippocampus. High stress in Childhood and Adulthood was associated with decreases in executive function and working memory in both males and females. Stress across the lifespan was also positively associated with the number of diagnosed mental health problems, with a stronger effect in females than in males. Finally, our findings also suggest that cognitive and mental health outcomes due to stress may be mediated by the sex specific stress related changes in brain microstructure. Together our findings demonstrate clear links between stress at distinct phases of the lifespan, changes in measures of brain microstructure, impairments in cognitive abilities and negative mental health outcomes.
... Furthermore, sex differences are often cited as one explanation for inconsistent results. For example, stronger HPA axis responses to standard psychosocial stress have been found in men than in women (Kirschbaum & Hellhammer, 1994;Kirschbaum, Wüst, & Hellhammer, 1992;Kudielka & Kirschbaum, 2005;Stephens et al., 2016). Both gender socialization and biological sex are often listed as reasons for this difference (Chetkowski et al., 1986;Strahler et al., 2017). ...
Article
The present study analyzed experimentally the association between the experience of psychological stress and the physiological stress response of prospective teachers. The experienced stress was assessed by self-reported data. Cortisol concentrations via saliva samples reflected the physiological response. The results show no difference between the stress and the control group in the experience of psychological stress. However, the stress group had significantly increased cortisol concentrations compared to the control group. The study could not show any correlation between the two stress parameters. The results suggest that a stress response should be validated based not only on the experience of psychological stress but also on the physiological stress response. This is particularly crucial in light of the fact that the majority of studies concerning stress in teachers are limited to experiences of psychological stress so far. Due to this, the results may provide a first important contribution to a more comprehensive stress assessment for teachers.
Article
Introduction Associations between measures of socio-economic position and cortisol remain controversial. We examined the association between social class and cortisol reactivity in an aging male population. Methods The Speedwell cohort study recruited 2,348 men aged 45-59 years from primary care between 1979-1982 (phase I) where occupational social class was used to classify socioeconomic position. Men were seen on four more occasions, the last being between 1997-1999 (phase 5) when salivary samples were obtained capturing cortisol reactivity to stressors (cognitive test and venepuncture) and circadian variations (awakening and night-time cortisol levels, circadian slope and area under curve) at morning and afternoon clinic sessions. Longitudinal association between social class at phase 3 and log-transformed salivary cortisol measures at phase 5 was assessed using multivariable linear regression adjusted for variables associated with sampling time and age as a potential confounder, stratified by time of clinic session. We also explored possible mediation by psychosocial factors (e.g. work dislike) and health-related factors (e.g. waist-to-hip ratio and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol). Results From 1,768 living men, 1,003 men (57%) attended a clinic at phase five, 854 participants (85% of attendees) returned home cortisol samples (mean age 71.7 years). We found little evidence of association between social class and baseline cortisol (i.e. prior to stress), cortisol response to stressors, and cortisol diurnal variation. However, we found lower social class was associated with higher and delayed post-stress recovery cortisol for participants that visited the clinic in the morning (adjusted β coefficient for manual versus non-manual 0.25 ng/ml; 95% CI: 0.06 to 0.48; P=0.008). This association did not appear to be mediated by any of the measured psychosocial or health-related factors. Conclusion Our data did not show an overall association between social class and cortisol variability either diurnal or in response to a stressor. Lower social class was associated with a slower time to recover from exposure to stress in the morning, thereby increasing overall cortisol exposure. These findings provide some evidence for a mechanism that may contribute to the association between lower social class and a higher risk of adverse health outcomes.
Article
Background: This study examines the relationship between adolescents' biophysiological stress (i.e. cortisol, alpha-amylase and oxidative stress) and the development of grit and school engagement over one school year. Aims: The study aims to identify how objective stress affects grit and three dimensions of school engagement. Based on the conservation of resources (COR) theory, the study considers lower- and higher-track school students and their genders. Sample: The sample consists of secondary school students (N = 82; MAge = 13.71; SD = 0.67; 48% girls) from Germany. Methods: Students participated in a questionnaire and a biophysiological study in the first semester (t1) of the school year and completed the same questionnaire at the end of the school year (t2). After conducting whole-sample analysis, a multi-group cross-lagged panel model was calculated to identify differences among students at lower- and higher-track schools. Results: Whole-sample analysis reveals that students who exhibit high levels of cortisol report lower cognitive school engagement at t2, whereas students who exhibit high levels of alpha-amylase exhibit less grit at t2. Additionally, lower-track students who exhibited high cortisol levels reported lower cognitive and emotional school engagement throughout the school year. Furthermore, higher-track students with high oxidative stress levels reported lower grit and behavioural school engagement at t2. Conclusions: Examining the relationship between biophysiological stress markers and grit and school engagement of students at lower- and higher-track schools indicates that the educational context and its specific subculture shapes physiological stress reactions, which are related differently to grit and engagement dimensions.
Article
Previous research has established that emotional regulation impacts our health; emotional expression is associated with a host of psychological and physiological benefits whereas emotional suppression has negative health consequences. Given that emotional-display rules restrict the range of emotion that men feel comfortable expressing, we hypothesized that gender might moderate the health outcomes associated with emotional regulation strategies. In a laboratory experiment, we instructed participants to either suppress or express their feelings in an interview with a researcher about a film they had watched. These participants provided saliva samples at four different points during the procedure for the later determination of cortisol. A Mixed Model ANOVA revealed that participant gender moderated the effect of emotional regulation strategy on cortisol. Contrary to the health consequences typically associated with emotional regulation strategies, men benefited more from emotional suppression than they did from emotional expression. These findings have important implications for future research and clinical work.
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Seeking information when anxious may help reduce the aversive feeling of uncertainty and guide decision-making. If information is negative or confusing, however, this may increase anxiety further. Information gathered under anxiety can thus be beneficial and/or damaging. Here, we examine whether anxiety leads to a general increase in information-seeking, or rather to changes in the type of information and/or situations in which it is sought. In two controlled laboratory studies, we show that both trait anxiety and induced anxiety lead to a selective alteration in information-seeking. In particular, anxiety did not enhance the general tendency to seek information, nor did it alter the valence of the information gathered. Rather, anxiety amplified the tendency to seek information more in response to large changes in the environment. This was true even when the cause of the anxiety was not directly related to the information sought. As anxious individuals have been shown to have problems learning in changing environments, greater information-seeking in such environments may be an adaptive compensatory mechanism.
Article
Background Adversity exposure and the negative psychological responses that often result have been linked with poor physical health outcomes and deteriorative physiological processes, like dysregulated circulating cortisol. Individuals exposed to early adversity who also demonstrate positive psychological functioning may be characterized as psychologically resilient, but few studies have evaluated whether psychological resilience may disrupt the health-damaging effects of adversity. We tested the hypothesis that among young adults exposed to early adversity, those who are psychologically resilient may manifest more normative diurnal cortisol patterns relative to those who experience more psychological distress. Methods Data are from Growing Up Today Study I participants who provided information on psychological resilience and diurnal salivary cortisol (n=916). Psychological resilience was derived from self-report questionnaires administered between 2007-2010, and salivary cortisol was obtained from saliva samples collected between 2011-2014. The predictor of interest, psychological resilience, was defined using two domains: 1) adversity exposure measured via a count of 7 potential psychosocial adversities experienced before age 18, and 2) psychological health in young adulthood measured via a composite score reflecting low psychological distress and high positive affect. The outcome was mean log-transformed diurnal salivary cortisol across 4 samples from one day. Linear regressions evaluated associations of adversity, psychological health, and their potential multiplicative interaction with mean diurnal log-transformed cortisol, adjusting for baseline socio-demographic variables and biological and behavioral factors from the day of saliva sampling. Results Relatively few individuals with high adversity demonstrated positive psychological health. Both adversity exposure and psychological health were independently associated with mean log cortisol levels. Models stratified by lower versus higher adversity suggested complex relationships with cortisol, however the interaction between adversity and psychological health was not statistically significant. High adversity was associated with blunted cortisol levels, regardless of psychological health. Conversely, among those with lower adversity, overall levels of cortisol were higher and psychological health associated with more normative, lower cortisol levels. Conclusions Psychological resilience domains were independently associated with diurnal salivary cortisol in young adulthood. High burden of early adversity may disrupt the physiological stress system, while psychological health may be associated with more normative cortisol levels when adversity is low.
Article
Scope Markers of oxidative and psychological stress are elevated during high intensity exercise. Additionally, when energy intake does not match expenditure, women who actively participate in sports and exercise are at risk of developing menstrual dysfunction, infertility and osteoporosis. Vitamin C is known to reduce exercise‐induced stress. Here we investigate the efficacy of consuming vitamin C from SunGoldTM kiwifruit compared to in isolation, in ameliorating exercise‐induced stress in recreationally active women. Method/results 10 eumenorrheic women were recruited in this crossover study and attended 3 exercise and 1 rest trial. In the exercise trials, participants consumed: 300 mg vitamin C from kiwifruit or drink, or had a placebo drink, followed by 30‐min exercise on a cycle ergometer at 60% power. During rest visit, participants sat quietly and consumed a placebo drink. Salivary uric acid (oxidative stress) and cortisol (psychological stress) was measured before and immediately after exercise for 2 hours. Both vitamin C and kiwifruit reduced exercise‐induced uric acid, immediately after exercise. Vitamin C drink continued to decrease uric acid for a further 30 minutes and slightly attenuated exercise‐induced cortisol. Conclusion Consuming liquid vitamin C prior to high intensity cycling appears more effective than eating kiwifruit, in ameliorating exercise‐induced stress in recreationally active women of reproductive age. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Individuals regularly face stress, and the manner in which they cope with that stress is a crucial component in predicting stress recovery. While many engage in self-rewarding behaviors to feel better, these behaviors can come with a cost. The current study tested the effect of engaging in a different behavior after experiencing stress-prosocial behavior. Given the health benefits associated with giving to others, it is plausible that engaging in prosocial behavior is more successful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress. To test this, participants underwent the Trier Social Stress Test and then either sent a gift card to a person of their choosing, received a gift card for themselves, or selected the more aesthetically pleasing gift card. Measures of self-reported mood, heart rate, blood pressure, salivary alpha-amylase, and cortisol were collected throughout the session. While the manipulation did not elicit differences in psychological or hormonal measures, the giving group showed a significantly greater downregulation of their heart rate, diastolic blood pressure, and mean arterial pressure while recovering from the stressor. Additionally, those in the giving group who evidenced greater prosocial sentiment showed a larger reduction in diastolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure. A follow-up study suggested that these behaviors may be engaging different reward components, as those who gave a gift card reported greater "liking" while those who received a gift card reported greater "wanting". Overall, the findings show that engaging in prosocial behavior following a stressor can help to downregulate physiological stress responses.
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We conducted a study to understand how dynamic functional brain connectivity contributes to the moderating effect of trait mindfulness on the stress response. 40 male participants provided subjective reports of stress, cortisol assays, and functional MRI before and after undergoing a social stressor. Self-reported trait mindfulness was also collected. Experiencing stress led to significant decreases in the prevalence of a connectivity state previously associated with mindfulness, but no changes in two connectivity states with prior links to arousal. Connectivity did not return to baseline 30 minutes after stress. Higher trait mindfulness was associated with attenuated affective and neuroendocrine stress response, and smaller decreases in the mindfulness-related connectivity state. In contrast, we found no association between affective response and functional connectivity. Taken together, these data allow us to construct a preliminary brain-behaviour model of how mindfulness dampens stress reactivity and demonstrate the utility of time-varying functional connectivity in understanding psychological state changes.
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The measurement of cortisol in saliva provides the basic scientist as well as the clinician with a reliable tool for investigations of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. Since saliva samples can be obtained stress-free and independent from medically trained personnel this method may be well suited for use in psychobiological studies. This overview intends to give a comprehensive introduction to the method of salivary cortisol assessment and to briefly discuss its application in different scientific disciplines.
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Basal levels of glucocorticoids maintained by negative feedback regulation are known to modulate a wide range of physiological processes, through a variety of effects such as those on carbohydrate metabolism and “permissive” actions on effects of other hormones. Glucocorticoid levels increase sharply in response to the stress of any kind of threat to homeostasis. The increased levels have traditionally been ascribed the function of enhancing the organism’s resistance to stress. How known physiological and pharmacological effects of high levels of glucocorticoids might accomplish this function, however, has been a mystery. A generalization that is beginning to emerge is that many of these effects may be secondary to modulation by glucocorticoids of the actions of numerous intercellular mediators, including established hormones, prostanoids, neutral proteinases, and cytokines such as interferon. These mediators participate in physiological mechanisms — endocrine, renal, immune, neural, etc. — that mount a first line of defense against such challenges to homeostasis as hemorrhage, metabolic disturbances, infection, anxiety, and others. Contrary to the traditional view that the role of glucocorticoids in stress is to enhance these defense mechanisms, it has become increasingly clear that glucocorticoids at moderate to high levels generally suppress them. This paradox first emerged when glucocorticoids were discovered to be antiinflammatory agents, and had remained a major obstacle to a unified picture of glucocorticoid function. We have suggested that stress-induced increases in glucocorticoid levels protect not against the source of stress itself but rather against the body’s normal reactions to stress, preventing those reactions from overshooting and themselves threatening homeostasis. This hypothesis, the seeds of which are to be found in many earlier discussions of glucocorticoid effects, immediately accounts for the paradox noted above, and provides glucocorticoid physiology with a unified conceptual framework that can accommodate such apparently unrelated physiological and pharmacological effects as those on carbohydrate metabolism, inflammatory processes, shock and water balance. It also leads us to propose that some enzymes rapidly induced by glucocorticoids detoxify mediators released during stress-induced activation of primary defense mechanisms; those mediators could themselves cause damage if left unchecked.
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This study investigated relationships between the appraisal of life events and gender, locus of control, social support, strain, and sensation seeking. In group sessions, undergraduate males and females completed self-report measures assessing life events appraisals and self-report measures for the above individual differences. Analyses supported the notion that a range of these variables, previously shown to serve as moderators of life stress, are significantly related to the appraisals of life events. Moreover, in addition to the gender differences obtained for the perception of life events, gender was found to influence several associations between the individual differences and life events appraisal.
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This editorial offers and provides preliminary support for the hypothesis that sex differences exist in physiological responses to acute behavioral stress, which may aid in understanding the enormous sex differences in risk for coronary heart disease. Epidemiological data regarding the differential sex experience of coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality are discussed, followed by a meta-analytic review of available psychophysiological data on sex differences in stress-induced cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses. The implications of the meta-analysis for conceptual and methodological issues in psychophysiological research are highlighted.
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In the first study, plasma and urinary catecholamine levels were studied in healthy young volunteers following exposure to a thermal test (cold-pressor test). Plasma noradrenaline was markedly elevated for some time after the stress ceased. In a second study, a cognitive-conflict task (Stroop's coloured-word conflict test) was used as the stress for groups of young and old, male and female volunteer subjects. There were group differences in the catecholamine responses: all groups except the young females responded with considerable increases in urinary adrenaline excretion. Noradrenaline, however, was raised only in the two elderly groups. All the subjects were considerably aroused by the test as judged by changes in the skin conductance, heart rate and electrocardiogram. The significance of decreased responsivity of the sympatho-adrenomedullary system to stressful situations in young women is discussed with reference to their low incidence of coronary artery disease.
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Unmanipulated control animals and rats that were exposed to handling or electric shock either pre- or post-weaning were subsequently stimulated by being placed into a novel environment for 5 sec or 3 min. Plasma corticosterone levels were sampled 5, 15, or 30 min following the cessation of this stimulation and in animals that received no such stimulation. The handled and shocked animals did not differ. As a group, however, the corticosterone response of the manipulated animals showed them to be less reactive than controls irrespective of the duration of stimulation.
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Male and female engineering students were studies under stress induced by a congnitive-conflict task and in a control condition spent in inactivity. The results showed that (a) in the control condition the sexes did not differ in adrenaline, noradrenaline or cortisol excretion, whereas heart rate was significantly higher in the females; (b) adrenaline excretion and heart rate increased significantly in both sexes during stress; (c) the rise in adrenaline excretion was more pronounced in the males, whereas the rise in heart rate was significantly greater in the females; (d) cortisol excretion increased significantly during stress in the male group only; and (e) self-estimates of effort and performance were consistently higher and increased more over time in the males than in the females, bu these sex differences on the subjective level were not reflected in actual performance. The interaction of biological and social factors in the development of sex differences in stress reactions is discussed.
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Sex differences in adaptation and coping were studied by comparing neuroendocrine and psychological functions in male and female high-school students during 2--3 hr of routine school work (control condition) and a 6-hr matriculation examination (stress condition). In the control condition sex differences were slight and nonsignificant. During examination stress, the urinary excretion of cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylethylene glycol (MOPEG or MHPG) increased in both sexes, but to a consistently greater extent in the male group, significantly so for adrenaline and MOPEG. Both sexes performed equally well in the examination, but self-reports showed that feelings of success and confidence were common among males, whereas feelings of discomfort and failure dominated in the female group. High discomfort correlated with poor performance in the males but with good performance in the females.
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The serum concentrations of progesterone (P), 17-OH-progesterone (17-OHP), 11-deoxycorticosterone (DOC), corticosterone (B), 11-deoxycortisol (S), 18-OH-11-deoxycorticosterone (18-OH-DOC), aldosterone (Aldo) and cortisol (F) were measured in 18 normal men (M), 14 normal women in the folicular phase (FF) and 14 normal women in the luteal phase (FL) of menstrual cycle from blood samples obtained between 0800 and 0900 h. Steroids were estimated by a sensitive and specific radioimmunoassay allowing the simultaneous determination of all steroids studied from one 3 ml serum sample. The mean steroid concentrations (ng/1dl) in FF were found to be as follows: P, 20.3; 17-OHP, 58; DOC, 3.8; B, 241; S, 20.7; 18-OH-DOC, 12.3; Aldo, 8.8; F, 9860. Apart from P, steroid concentrations in FF were significantly lower than in M. Serum 17-OHP, DOC, B and Aldo in FF were significantly lower than in FL. With the exception of P, there were no significant differences of mean steroid concentrations between M and FL.
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Cortisol 3-(o-carboxymethyl)oxime (C3-CMO) and a commercially available biotin-hydrazide derivative were used to synthesize a C3-CMO-biotin conjugate. C3-CMO was converted into a N-hydroxysuccinimide ester derivative which in a second reaction step was allowed to interact with the hydrazide derivative of biotin. This simple-to-perform synthesis yielded a conjugate suitable for use as a tracer in immunoassays for cortisol measurement. Employing biotin as the primary probe in a competitive solid phase immunoassay allows for variable end point determination by means of commercially available labeled avidin or streptavidin derivatives. Streptavidin-Europium was used in conjunction with the DELFIA-system for time-resolved fluorometric end point measurement (TR-FIA) throughout the study. In addition, colorimetric end point determination (ELISA) using streptavidin-alkaline phosphatase as a secondary probe was established and evaluated. Both forms of this non-isotopic assay showed excellent correlation with a commercially available radioimmunoassay adapted for salivary cortisol measurement. The lower detection limit was 0.43 nM for a 50 microliters salivary sample. The intra-assay coefficient of variation was 6.7, 4.7 and 4.0% at cortisol concentrations of 2.2, 5.5 and 13.2 nM, respectively (n = 37), and the corresponding inter-assay coefficients of variation were 9.0, 8.6 and 7.1% (n = 50). The competitive immunoassay requires 1.5 h incubation time and shows robust and reproducible performance. The C3-CMO-biotin conjugate allows for sensitive and flexible end point determination of salivary cortisol levels in immunoassays.
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Previous experiments have revealed sex-dependent effects of inescapable shock in rats. Behavior of male rats was more severely disrupted by inescapable shock than behavior of female rats. These sex differences were found after 1- and 24-hour intervals but not after a 72-hour interval. The present experiment was designed to study various physiological parameters at 1-, 4- and 24-hour intervals after inescapable footshock. The predictability of shock was manipulated by adding a compound light and tone stimulus that preceded shock presentation for one group but was not correlated with shock presentation for another group of subjects. Noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, and metabolites of these 3 transmitters were measured in the frontal cortex. Transient shock-induced increments in dopamine and metabolites of dopamine and serotonin were found, but the sex of the animal did not differentially affect this neurotransmitter response. In addition to neurotransmitter concentrations in the frontal cortex, levels of corticosterone were measured in plasma. The pituitary-adrenal axis was activated for a longer period in females than males after shock. The present data do not provide evidence that behavioral sex differences induced by inescapable shock are paralleled by sex differences in neurotransmitter activity. In addition, sex-dependent effects of predictability of shock on neurotransmitter activity were not detected. The relevance of the observed sex-dependent responses in the pituitary-adrenal system is discussed.
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This study compares 24-h basal patterns of corticosterone and immunoreactivity for Lewis and Fischer (F344) strain rats. Significant differences in the circadian rhythm of plasma corticosterone were found across sex and strain. Male Lewis rats exhibited significantly lower 24-h corticosterone levels relative to female Lewis and male F344 rats. In addition, male Lewis rats were found to have higher mononuclear cell counts than female Lewis or male F344 rats, particularly in the peripheral blood and spleen compartments. Levels of CD4-bearing lymphocytes in blood, lymph node, and spleen were found to be higher in Lewis rats compared to the F344 strain over a 24-h period. In general, percentages of CD8- and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-bearing lymphocytes were shown to vary over 24 h in all compartments across strains. Given that the Lewis rat has low basal levels of circulating corticosterone, and comparatively higher numbers of CD4-bearing lymphocytes, these factors may play a causative role in the known susceptibility of this strain to many experimental models of autoimmune disease.
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Psychological and physical stress reactivity was studied in 15 females in two phases of the menstrual cycle (cycle days 5-7 and 24-26) and in 15 males. Each female was matched for age and time between sessions with a male. There was a significant phase-related difference in cardiovascular reactivity among the females. Females in the luteal phase reacted significantly more to the cold pressor but not to the mental arithmetic test. There were significant sex differences in systolic blood pressure, the males displaying higher levels during provocation, as well as during control conditions. The females were more reactive in heart rate to the mental stressor when changes from control conditions to stress were calculated. When the data were analyzed separately for smokers and non-smokers, there was a significant interaction between menstrual cycle phase and smoking. In the luteal phase, the female smokers were more reactive in systolic blood pressure than the non-smokers. The male smokers were more reactive than the non-smokers in diastolic blood pressure response to mental arithmetic, but not to the cold pressor test. Significantly higher levels of cortisol and aldosterone were found in the luteal phase as compared with the follicular phase. The cortisol levels were higher in the males than in the females in the follicular phase, whereas the female aldosterone concentrations in the luteal phase were higher than those of the males.
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Unstimulated salivary cortisol concentrations were measured in 767 adults aged 35-65 yr over the course of one day. Interindividual differences in early morning cortisol concentrations showed consistent and significant relationships with demographic and psychological variables. Socioeconomic status was positively associated with cortisol levels. Relationships of cortisol levels with age were moderated by gender: for women, a negative regression of cortisol level on age was observed while no significant age effects were obtained for men. In bivariate and multivariate regression analyses, a positive association between cortisol levels and indicators of successful development and personal well-being was observed; these relationships were more pronounced for the male sample. Intradyadic correlations further revealed a slight but significant association of morning cortisol levels within married couples. The findings are discussed with respect to mediating developmental mechanisms and pathophysiological implications.
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Patterns of plasma ACTH and cortisol concentrations were studied in 10 healthy subjects (five male, five female in the early follicular phase, overall age range 21-32 years) by sampling through an indwelling cannula every 15 min for 24 h. The subjects were in hospital, ambulant, and taking normal meals. Plasma ACTH was measured by a two-site immunoradiometric assay with a detection limit of 3.9 ng/l (0.9 pmol/l). Pulses were identified by the method of Clayton et al. (1987) using stringent criteria to minimize false positive peaks. All subjects showed a circadian rhythm of ACTH, the acrophase occurring between 0615 and 0920 h in all but one subject and the mesor value was between 9.2 and 18.6 ng/l (2.0 and 4.1 pmol/l). There were significantly fewer pulses between 1800 and 2400 h compared with the other three 6-h periods. The pattern of ACTH differed between males and females in several respects: more pulses (18 vs 10), greater mean peak amplitude (16.8 vs 10.3 ng/l), greater area under the 24-h profile (350.9 vs 206.6 ng/l h) and higher mean level (14.7 vs 8.6 ng/l) in the males. In contrast, the cortisol pattern did not show statistically different sex differences. The sex differences suggest greater sensitivity to, or availability of, ACTH to the female adrenal cortex, or different set points in cortisol feedback.
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The study set out to examine whether the cerebral hemispheres differ in their ability to regulate cortisol secretion during emotion-related situations. One hundred twenty-three adult subjects were shown either an emotionally aversive or a neutral film in the left or right hemisphere by means of a technique for lateralizing visual input that allows prolonged viewing while permitting free ocular scanning. The film-related changes of cortisol secretion were determined by salivary cortisol radioimmunoassay. Right hemispheric viewing of the emotionally aversive film resulted in a significantly higher increase of cortisol secretion than left hemispheric viewing of the same film. No such differences were observed with respect to the neutral film. Comparing the effects of the two films separately for each hemisphere revealed that only the right hemisphere was able to respond neuroendocrinologically in a different manner to the emotional and the neutral film. Therefore, it is concluded that cortical regulation of cortisol secretion in emotion-related situations is under primary control of the right hemisphere. The potential implications of asymmetric control of cortisol secretion with respect to the pathogenesis of psychosomatic and immunological disorders are discussed.
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This study examined gender differences in how college students cope with dysphoria on their own. Thirty-five male and female college students who reported experiencing serious dysphoria within the past year were interviewed about the coping techniques they used. Compared to women, men made greater use of relaxation, self-reward, and situation changes. Men also employed more coping techniques than did women. For women, maintaining a faith in their own improvement was correlated significantly with less dysphoria. For men, experiencing changes in their lives and putting work into the techniques were correlated significantly with less dysphoria. For both sexes, keeping anger in was correlated significantly with more dysphoria.
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Some researchers have found that the administration of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) results in increased cortisol secretion in major depressives but not in healthy controls. Other authors observed gender-related differences in cortisol responses to 5-HTP in major depressives. In order to investigate the pituitary/adrenal responsivity to 5-HTP, the authors measured cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and prolactin (PRL) in 30 healthy controls and in 90 depressed patients; the hormone levels were determined in baseline conditions and 60, 90 and 120 min after 125 mg L-5-HTP (orally, non-enteric coated). We found that healthy men had significantly higher cortisol responses to L-5-HTP than healthy women. In the major depressives with melancholia and/or psychotic features these differences were reversed: women exhibited significantly higher cortisol and PRL responses than men. In the female group the most severely depressed patients had increased cortisol and PRL responses to L-5-HTP. The amplitudes of the cortisol, ACTH and PRL responses to L-5-HTP were significantly and positively correlated. It was concluded that the central serotonergic regulation of ACTH and PRL is significantly different between the sexes and between healthy controls, minor depressives and severely depressed patients.
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A single dose of clomipramine, 10 mg i.v., or desipramine, 25 mg i.m., was administered to seven healthy young sibling pairs in a randomized cross-over experiment. The response of serum growth hormone, prolactin and cortisol was measured. The main findings were (1) sex differences in the growth hormone and cortisol response to desipramine and (2) a significant genetic component of the prolactin and cortisol response to desipramine as indicated by significantly (p less than 0.05) lower within-pair than between-pair variance in the sibling pairs but not random pairs of the experimental subjects.
Gender differences in the changes substrates of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism as well as in adrenaline, noradrenaline, growth hormone, insulin and cortisol were investigated in 24 women and 24 men during exhaustive endurance exercise. Training history and current performance capacity were taken into consideration in the design of the study. Since previous papers present conflicting results the purpose of the present study was to obtain further information regarding possible gender differences in lipid metabolism and its regulation by hormones. Non-endurance-trained women and men each ran 10 km on a treadmill at an intensity of 75% of VO2max; endurance-trained women and men ran 14 and 17 km, respectively, at an intensity of 80% of VO2max. Blood glucose levels in non-endurance-trained women were higher when compared to non-endurance-trained men. This might be explained by increased mobilization of free fatty acids from intramuscular fat depots during energy production in non-specifically trained women. In contrast, no substantial gender differences in endurance-trained persons were seen in lipid metabolism. The changes in substrates of lipid metabolism confirm the higher lipolytic activity and greater utilization of free fatty acids in endurance-trained persons. During endurance exercise, changes in adrenaline, noradrenaline, growth hormone, insulin and cortisol were not substantially affected by the sex of the subjects. This study does not present any conclusive results that endurance-trained persons show gender differences in lipid metabolism and major regulatory hormones.
Article
Changes of the pituitary-thyroid and pituitary-adrenal hormone axes with age and possible differences between the sexes in the elderly were studied in 60-year-old (n = 39) and 80-year-old (n = 34) non-hospitalized subjects. The 80-year-old age group had a significantly lower response of thyrotropin (TSH) to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH; p less than 0.05). Otherwise, there were no significant differences between the two age groups. Sex differences were found for plasma arginine vasopressin and cortisol excretion (higher values in men), and free thyroxine index, TSH and prolactin response to TRH (higher values in women). Cortisol levels after dexamethasone were negatively correlated to body mass index. There were no differences in hormone levels between smokers and non-smokers. In obtaining reference values for hormones in old age it is important to consider possible changes after the age of 60 years and to adjust for gender and body mass.
Article
The salivary cortisol concentration is an excellent indicator of the plasma free cortisol concentration. To establish its normal and pathological ranges, salivary cortisol concentrations were measured in 101 normal adults, 18 patients with Cushing's syndrome, and 21 patients with adrenal insufficiency. The normal subjects had a mean (+/- SEM) salivary cortisol concentration of 15.5 +/- 0.8 nmol/L (range, 10.2-27.3) at 0800 h and 3.9 +/- 0.2 nmol/L (range, 2.2-4.1) at 2000 h (n = 20). The mean value 60 min after ACTH administration in 58 normal subjects was 52.2 +/- 2.2 nmol/L (range, 23.5-99.4), and it was 1.4 +/- 1.1 nmol/L (range, 1.6-3) at 0800 h in 23 normal subjects given 1 mg dexamethasone 8 h earlier. In patients with primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency (n = 21) the mean salivary cortisol level was 7.5 +/- 0.4 nmol/L (range, 1.9-21.8) 60 min after ACTH. In patients with Cushing's syndrome (n = 7), the mean value after the 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test was 16.1 +/- 7.8 nmol/L (range, 5.8-66.8). No overlap was found between the values in the normal subjects and those in the patients during the dynamic tests. Discrepancies between salivary and total plasma cortisol were found in 8 patients with adrenal insufficiency, which may be explained by the effects of drugs such as thyroid hormones, Op'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane, and psychotropic agents. We conclude that salivary cortisol measurements are an excellent index of plasma free cortisol concentrations. They circumvent the physiological, pathological, and pharmacological changes due to corticosteroid-binding globulin alterations and offer a practical approach to assess pituitary-adrenal function.
Article
Two g cefodizime i.v. administration at 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00 respectively, to 8 male and 8 female, young healthy volunteers, has shown: 1. a sex-related difference in both plasma (AUC) and total cumulative excretion of the agent with larger values in females than in males; 2. a dosing time-related difference in plasma (AUC) with the largest values for Rx at 00:00 and lowest for Rx at 18:00 in both males and females; 3. a dosing time-related difference in urinary concentration of cefodizime with largest values for Rx at 06:00 and lowest for Rx at 12:00. These urinary changes were highly correlated with changes in AUC for each dosing time; 4. no dosing time-related changes were observed for plasma T1/2 as well as cumulative urinary excretion of cefodizime; 5. curve patterns of plasma cortisol had similar aspects for both control and Rx at 00:00 with no sex-related differences. Curve patterns differed from control for other dosing times (p less than 0.005 to p less than 0.001 with ANOVA tests).
Article
An evaluation of a number of non-invasive physiological measures of stress was conducted, using bank employees attending a two-week residential course. The stressor involved was the preparation and delivery of a 15-min public lecture. The physiological parameters measured were urinary excretion rates of noradrenaline (NA), adrenaline (A), dopamine and cortisol, the ratio of NA/A, salivary cortisol levels, heart rate and blood pressure. Measurements were taken at 08.30, 10.30, 12.30, 15.30 and 17.30 h on the day of the public lecture and on the following (control) day. The public lectures were given between 10.30 and 12.30 h. The urinary excretion rates of adrenaline and cortisol were significantly elevated immediately following, but not before, the public lectures. The ratio NA/A was significantly decreased and the salivary cortisol levels were significantly increased both immediately before and after the public lecture. Urinary excretion rates of noradrenaline and dopamine, blood pressure and heart rate were unchanged by the stressor. Measurement of salivary cortisol levels, as well as providing a simple, stress free, non-invasive collection procedure, more closely reflects in time the changes in plasma levels of the hormone, not suffering from the large lag-time involved with urinary hormone measurements. Salivary cortisol measurement would appear to be the measurement of choice in human stress studies where individual stress factors are to be identified and studied. The significance of the stress-induced elevation in cortisol and catecholamine levels in the link between illness and occupational stress is discussed.
Article
Rats with experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) develop paralysis, from which most of them recover. It has been hypothesized that spontaneous remission in EAE is due to the stress of paralysis and the subsequent hypersecretion of endogenous immunosuppressive adrenal glucocorticoids. Spontaneous relapse after a remission is thought to occur when the stress of paralysis and the adrenal response to it are terminated. In the present work, this theory has been tested in a newly developed relapsing form of EAE in rats. After an initial attack characterized by paralysis, the control rats had a remission and then a second episode of paralysis (relapse). In contrast, rats subjected to restraint during the remission period were protected from relapses. Injections of adrenal glucocorticoids during the remission had a similar protective effect. These findings support the hypothesis that remissions and relapses in EAE are caused by the occurrence and subsequent disappearance of the adrenals' immunosuppressive response to the stress of paralysis, because the addition of stress during the period of remission maintained the adrenals' hyperactive state and thereby prevented relapses.
Article
Bidirectional responsiveness of the pituitary-adrenal system was examined in young adult (3-5 months) and old (24-26 months) male and female rats. In Experiment 1, an approach-avoidance conflict was created by exposing food- and water-deprived subjects to a flavored solution which had previously been paired with lithium chloride-induced illness in a conditioned taste aversion paradigm. Young and old males and young females elevated plasma corticosterone in response to deprivation; males showed a further elevation when reexposed to the solution, whereas young females did not. Old females did not exhibit a corticosterone elevation to deprivation or upon reexposure. In Experiment 2, water was restricted to a fixed period in the morning when corticosterone levels are typically low. Plasma corticosterone was measured before and after watering. Young and old males and young females reentrained their circadian corticosterone rhythm so that levels were elevated just prior to watering; consumption was followed by a drop in corticosterone. Old females failed to reentrain or to suppress corticosterone secretion upon drinking. These findings indicate that the lability of the pituitary-adrenal system is more markedly affected by senescence in females than in males.