Matching Items (17)

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Discrimination, Social Support, and Cortisol in Low-Income Hispanic Women and Infants

Description

Although discrimination is implicated in ethnic health disparities, social support may buffer against its negative effects on health. This study investigated whether prenatal maternal discrimination and social support would predict

Although discrimination is implicated in ethnic health disparities, social support may buffer against its negative effects on health. This study investigated whether prenatal maternal discrimination and social support would predict postpartum cortisol in low-income Hispanic women and infants. Among infants whose mothers reported high discrimination, low maternal social support was associated with high infant cortisol (ß= -0.293, p= 0.03). This provides evidence for the social buffering hypothesis.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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The Relations Between Childhood Trauma, Cortisol Levels, and Pain Perceptions in Response to Induced Thermal Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients

Description

Childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of chronic pain in adulthood. One potential mechanism is via childhood trauma's impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) response to stress,

Childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of chronic pain in adulthood. One potential mechanism is via childhood trauma's impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) response to stress, reflected in changes in salivary cortisol levels (Nicolson et al., 2010). This study sought to determine the relations between childhood trauma, increases in cortisol levels following induced pain, and pain perceptions in adults with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. It drew on data collected from participants enrolled in an investigation comparing the effectiveness of behavioral treatments for chronic pain. Before receiving treatment, participants attended a laboratory session during which they first rested, and then were exposed to heat stimuli to assess pain threshold and tolerance. Saliva samples were collected from each participant immediately following the rest, and twice during pain induction. Fibromyalgia participants with a history of childhood trauma were expected: 1) to report lower pain threshold and tolerance levels (i.e., have higher pain sensitivity), 2) to exhibit a higher resting cortisol level, and 3) to have greater increases in cortisol in response to acute pain induction than fibromyalgia participants without a history of childhood trauma. Findings showed that childhood trauma scores were: 1) related to lower pain tolerance (but not pain threshold), 2) unrelated to resting cortisol levels, and 3) unrelated to changes in cortisol in response to pain induction and pain tolerance, contrary to prediction. However, a subtype of childhood trauma, i.e., emotional maltreatment: 1) predicted lower pain tolerance, and 2) moderated the cortisol changes over time in response to pain induction during the laboratory session in the expected direction. That is, individuals who reported higher levels of childhood emotional maltreatment showed greater cortisol responses to the pain induction than individuals who reported lower levels of exposure to emotional maltreatment. Cortisol responses did not relate to pain perception. Thus, childhood emotional trauma predicted greater pain sensitivity and cortisol reactivity, but cortisol did not relate to pain perception. The findings suggest that early childhood trauma predicts cortisol reactivity and pain sensitivity, but that cortisol reactivity is not a mediator in the trauma-pain relation.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Do Physiological Stress and Internalizing Alone and in Combination Predict Child Chronic Pain One Year Later?

Description

Chronic or recurrent pain in childhood is a common and costly health problem, and increases the likelihood of experiencing chronic pain in adulthood. Existing evidence suggests that internalizing symptoms

Chronic or recurrent pain in childhood is a common and costly health problem, and increases the likelihood of experiencing chronic pain in adulthood. Existing evidence suggests that internalizing symptoms are a risk factor for the development of chronic pain in children and adults. Findings from a small body of research also points to a flattened diurnal cortisol profile, alone and in combination with internalizing symptoms, as a risk factor for future chronic pain among adults. The present study aimed to evaluate whether internalizing, a flattened diurnal cortisol profile, and their combination prospectively predict chronic pain in middle childhood. It was hypothesized that: 1) both internalizing and a flattened diurnal cortisol profile at age 8 would independently predict acquisition of chronic pain at age 9, controlling for age 8 pain; and 2) the combination of high internalizing and a flattened diurnal cortisol rhythm would predict greater risk of increased pain over time. Multilevel models of longitudinal data collected from a sample of 748 twin children revealed that internalizing symptoms and a flattened cortisol slope independently acted as prospective risk factors for increased chronic pain in childhood one year later. However, the interaction between internalizing and diurnal cortisol did not predict future increases in pain. Exploratory analyses evaluating symptoms of overanxiousness demonstrated that the interaction between overanxiousness and a flattened cortisol profile emerged as a marginally significant predictor of future pain. The current findings point to the role of psychological and physiological risk factors for the development of chronic pediatric pain, and may help to identify early targets for prevention efforts.

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Date Created
  • 2020-12

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The Role of Familism and Life Stressors in Latinx Adolescents' Cortisol Response

Description

Family influences are known predictors of adolescent health and well-being trajectories, yet little research has investigated how adolescents’ orientation to family may be associated with their physiological stress responses. Influenced

Family influences are known predictors of adolescent health and well-being trajectories, yet little research has investigated how adolescents’ orientation to family may be associated with their physiological stress responses. Influenced by the strength-based approach to culture, this study evaluated 418 Hispanic adolescents' familism values and perceived life stress in family, school, and peer domains to investigate prospective associations with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stress responses to the Group Public Speaking Task for Adolescents (GPST-A). Prior growth-mixture modeling on this sample revealed a five-class solution of cortisol responding to the GPST-A that was used here as the dependent variable: one class showed a more pronounced pattern of reactivity, potentially indicative of hyper-responsivity to the stress task; two classes showed evidence of a low to moderate cortisol response, potentially indicative of an adaptive physiological response to the challenge; and two classes showed patterns of non-responsivity, potentially indicative of hypo-responsivity. Results demonstrate that the role of familism is nuanced in the context of stressors, potentially offering both promotive and risk-amplifying effects for the physiological stress response system. This study offered several novel findings in the relation between cultural factors, salient stressors of adolescence, and HPA activity.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Evaluating the Psychological and Physical Effects of Examination Stress

Description

This study examined whether cortisol changes caused by examination stress are more associated with acute psychological state or physical symptoms of stress. Participants’ salivary cortisol was assayed before and after

This study examined whether cortisol changes caused by examination stress are more associated with acute psychological state or physical symptoms of stress. Participants’ salivary cortisol was assayed before and after taking a final examination, and a survey was administered to assess their psychological state for depression, tension, and fatigue, as well as the degree to which they experienced a variety of physical symptoms. Physical symptoms, tension, and depression were found to positively correlate with changes in cortisol across the examination period with depression showing the strongest correlation. No correlation was observed between fatigue and changes in cortisol during the examination period. Additionally, physical symptoms were found to positively correlate with average cortisol across the examination period while depression and fatigue were found to negatively correlate with average cortisol across the examination period. No correlation was observed between tension and average cortisol during the examination period. None of these findings were statistically significant, which suggests that no relationship exists between cortisol and acute psychological state or physical symptoms of stress; however, the study was limited by its small sample size and several potentially confounding variables, making it difficult to draw any firm conclusions.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Examining multiple sleep behaviors and diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase: within- and between-person associations

Description

Sleep is essential for physical and psychological health. Sleep has also been linked to the daily patterns of key stress-responsive physiological systems, specifically the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous

Sleep is essential for physical and psychological health. Sleep has also been linked to the daily patterns of key stress-responsive physiological systems, specifically the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system (ANS). Extant research examining sleep and diurnal patterns of cortisol, the primary end product of the HPA axis, is inconsistent. Moreover, it is not clear how specific aspects of sleep behavior (e.g., sleep duration, sleep quality, sleep variability) are related to specific components of diurnal cortisol rhythms. Salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) has been recognized as a surrogate marker of ANS activity, but limited research has explored relations between sleep and sAA diurnal rhythms. The current study utilized a modified ecological momentary assessment protocol to examine within- and between-person relations between multiple facets of sleep behavior using multiple methods (e.g., subjective report, actigraphy) and salivary cortisol and sAA. First year college students (N = 76) provided saliva samples and diary entries five times per day over the course of three days. Sleep was assessed via questionnaire, through daily diaries, and monitored objectively using actigraphy over a four day period. Between-person results revealed that shorter average sleep duration and greater sleep variability was related to lower levels of waking cortisol and flatter diurnal slopes across the day. Within-person results revealed that on nights when individuals slept for shorter durations than usual they also had lower levels of waking cortisol the next day. Sleep was not related to the cortisol awakening response (CAR) or diurnal patterns of sAA, in either between-person or within-person analyses. However, typical sleep behaviors measured via questionnaire were related to waking levels of sAA. Overall, this study provides a greater understanding of how multiple components of sleep, measured in naturalistic environments, is related to cortisol and sAA diurnal rhythms, and how day-to-day, within-person changes in sleep duration contribute to daily variations in cortisol.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Effects of message planning on support message effectiveness, nonverbal behaviors, and supporter stress and anxiety

Description

Emotional support messages can benefit recipients; however, verbal and nonverbal aspects of these messages can vary in effectiveness, and the process of communicating support can be stressful to some supporters.

Emotional support messages can benefit recipients; however, verbal and nonverbal aspects of these messages can vary in effectiveness, and the process of communicating support can be stressful to some supporters. One potential behavior that may yield more effective support messages for recipients while reducing anxiety and stress for supporters is message planning. Thus, planning theory is used to test whether planning influences message effectiveness, nonverbal delivery of messages, self-reported anxiety, and physiological stress markers. Additionally, an individual’s trait-level reticence and prior support experiences are predicted to moderate the effects of message planning. One hundred laboratory participants were assigned to either a planning condition or writing distraction task and completed a series of self-report and physiological measures before, during, and after recording an emotional support message to a friend who had hypothetically been diagnosed with a serious form of cancer. Subsequently, a sample of one hundred cancer patients viewed the laboratory participants’ videos to provide message effectiveness ratings and four trained coders provided data on nonverbal behaviors from these recorded messages. Findings showed planning leads to more effective messages; however, it also leads to supporters engaging in success bias and inflation bias. Planning also increased vocal fluency, but not other nonverbal behaviors. Likewise, planning attenuated heart rate reactivity, but not other physiological markers. In general, experience and reticence did not moderate these main effects. Theoretical, practical, clinical, pedagogical, and methodological implications are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Anxiety and Subjective Response to Alcohol: Moderating Effects of Drinking Context and Mediation by Cortisol Response to Alcohol

Description

Anxiety disorder diagnosis is a risk factor for alcohol use disorders (AUDs), but mechanisms of risk are not well understood. Studies show that anxious individuals receive greater negative reinforcement from

Anxiety disorder diagnosis is a risk factor for alcohol use disorders (AUDs), but mechanisms of risk are not well understood. Studies show that anxious individuals receive greater negative reinforcement from alcohol when consumed prior to a stressor, but few studies have examined whether anxious individuals receive greater negative (or positive) reinforcement from alcohol in a general drinking context (i.e., no imminent stressor). Previous studies have also failed to examine possible moderating effects of specific drinking contexts (e.g., drinking in a group or alone). Finally, no studies have investigated mediating variables that might explain the relationship between anxiety and reinforcement from alcohol, such as physiological response to alcohol (e.g., cortisol response). Data for this study were drawn from a large alcohol administration study (N = 447) wherein participants were randomized to receive alcohol (target peak BAC: .08 g%) or placebo in one of four contexts: group simulated bar, solitary simulated bar, group sterile laboratory, solitary sterile laboratory. It was hypothesized that anxiety would be associated with positive subjective response (SR) under alcohol (above and beyond placebo), indicating stronger reinforcement from alcohol. It was also hypothesized that social and physical drinking context would moderate this relationship. Finally, it was hypothesized that anxiety would be associated with a blunted cortisol response to alcohol (compared to placebo) and this blunted cortisol response would be associated with stronger positive SR and weaker negative SR. Results showed that anxiety was not associated with positive SR in the full sample, but drinking context did moderate the anxiety/SR relationship in most cases (e.g., anxiety was significantly associated with positive SR (stimulation) under placebo in solitary contexts only). There was no evidence that cortisol response to alcohol mediated the relationship between anxiety and SR. This study provides evidence that anxious drinkers expect stronger positive reinforcement from alcohol in solitary contexts, which has implications for intervention (e.g., modification of existing interventions like expectancy challenge). Null findings regarding cortisol response suggest alcohol’s effect on cortisol response to stress (rather than cortisol response to alcohol consumption) may be more relevant for SR and drinking behavior among anxious individuals.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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The effects of father involvement in adolescence on cortisol reactivity in young adulthood: the mediating role of perceived mattering

Description

Research suggests that early family relationships have critical influences on later physical and psychological health, but most studies have focused on the influence of mothers ignoring the unique impacts of

Research suggests that early family relationships have critical influences on later physical and psychological health, but most studies have focused on the influence of mothers ignoring the unique impacts of fathers. One mechanism by which families may transmit risk is by repeated activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in the short-term that leads to adult neurobiological dysregulaton, evident in hyper- or hypo-cortisol levels. Using 218 father-child dyads from the Parent and Youth Study (PAYS), the current study investigated whether father involvement in adolescence predicted youth cortisol AUCg and reactivity to a stress task in young adulthood, and whether this relation was mediated by youth perceptions of mattering to their fathers in adolescence. Results revealed that higher father-reported father involvement predicted lower cortisol AUCg in youth when mattering was included in the model, although father involvement was not a statistically significant predictor of AUCg or cortisol reactivity when mattering was not included. Additionally, children who reported higher father involvement also reported higher feelings of mattering, but this association was only statistically significant for girls and European American youth. Youth feelings of mattering did not predict their cortisol reactivity or AUCg in young adulthood. Results suggest that future research should include fathers when investigating the effects of family relationships on youth psychophysiological development.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Cultural Factors and the HPA Axis Stress Response Among Latino Students Transitioning to College

Description

A record number of Latino students are enrolling in higher education in the U.S., but as a group Latinos are the least likely to complete a bachelor’s degree. Cultural factors

A record number of Latino students are enrolling in higher education in the U.S., but as a group Latinos are the least likely to complete a bachelor’s degree. Cultural factors theoretically contribute to Latino students’ success, including orientation toward ethnic heritage and mainstream cultures (i.e., dual cultural adaptation), feeling comfortable navigating two cultural contexts (i.e., biculturalism), and the degree of fit between students’ cultural backgrounds and the cultural landscapes of educational institutions (i.e., cultural congruity). In a two-part study, these cultural factors were examined in relation to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stress response (indexed by salivary cortisol), a physiological mechanism that may underlie how psychosocial stress influences academic achievement and health. First, Latino students’ cortisol responses to stress were estimated in their daily lives prior to college using ecological momentary assessment (N = 206; 64.6% female; Mage = 18.10). Results from three-level growth models indicated that cortisol levels were lower following greater perceived stress than usual for students endorsing greater Latino cultural values (e.g., familism), compared to students endorsing average or below-average levels of these values. Second, cortisol and subjective responses to a standard public speaking stress task were examined in a subsample of these same students in their first semester of college (N = 84; 63.1% female). In an experimental design, viewing a brief video prior to the stress task conveying the university’s commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion (compared to a generic campus tour) reduced cortisol reactivity and negative affect for students with greater Latino cultural values, and also reduced post-task cortisol levels for students with greater mainstream U.S. cultural values (e.g., competition). These findings join the growing science of culture and biology interplay, while also informing initiatives to support first-year Latino students and the universities that serve them.

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Date Created
  • 2018