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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of ruminations on the saliva cortisol response to a social stressor.

Depression is generally precipitated by stressful life events, which suggests that there could be differences in response to stress in individuals at risk for depression compared to normal subjects. To test this hypothesis, we compared individuals who scored high on ruminative coping, a risk factor for depression, to individuals low on ruminative coping. We used the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), a mock job interview in front of a panel of judges, and collected saliva cortisol to assess neuroendocrine response. While we observed a clear effect of the stressor on saliva cortisol secretion, we observed no differences in this response between high and low ruminators. However, the task itself failed to cause a significant increase in rumination in either group, suggesting the task itself may not be optimal for testing the hypothesis. Finally, a modified version of the TSST in which the subjects were allowed a longer preparatory period resulted in a markedly diminished saliva cortisol response to the TSST.[1]


  1. Effect of ruminations on the saliva cortisol response to a social stressor. Young, E.A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S. Psychoneuroendocrinology (2001) [Pubmed]
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