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  Exploring the multidimensional complex systems structure of the stress response and its relation to health and sleep outcomes

Engert, V., Kok, B. E., Puhlmann, L. M., Stalder, T., Kirschbaum, C., Papanastasopoulou, C., et al. (2018). Exploring the multidimensional complex systems structure of the stress response and its relation to health and sleep outcomes. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 73, 390-402. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2018.05.023.

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Engert, Veronika1, Author           
Kok, Bethany E.1, Author           
Puhlmann, Lara M.1, Author           
Stalder, Tobias2, Author
Kirschbaum, Clemens3, Author
Papanastasopoulou, Chrysanthi4, Author
Papassotiriou, Ioannis4, Author
Pervanidou, Panagiota5, Author
Chrousos, George P.5, Author
Singer, Tania1, Author           
1Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634552              
2Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Siegen, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Department of Biological Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, TU Dresden, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Department of Clinical Biochemistry, “Aghia Sophia” Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece, ou_persistent22              
5First Department of Pediatrics, School of Health Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Cortisol; Subjective stress; C-reactive protein; Interleukin-6; Body mass index; Sleep; Network analysis
 Abstract: To gain a comprehensive understanding of the multidimensional complex systems structure of the stress response and related health outcomes, we utilized network analysis in a sample of 328 healthy participants in two steps. In a first step, we focused on associations between measures of basal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning and subjective stress perceptions. In a second step, we linked these diverse stress-related measures to biomarkers and self-repots of health and sleep. Overall, measures clustered depending on their method of assessment, with high correlations between different saliva-based indices of diurnal cortisol regulation, between cortisol and cortisone levels in hair, between different biological health indicators (systemic inflammatory activity and body mass index), between state (experience sampling) and trait (questionnaire-based) self-reports of stress and wellbeing, and between different self-reports of sleep. Bridges between clusters suggested that if individuals perceive stress throughout their daily lives this is reflected in their total salivary cortisol output possibly contributing to long-term cortisol accumulation in hair. Likewise, earlier awakening time may contribute to cortisol accumulation in hair via an influence on awakening cortisol processes. Our results show that while meaningful connections between measures exist, stress is a highly complex construct composed of numerous aspects. We argue that network analysis is an integrative statistical approach to address the multidimensionality of the stress response and its effects on the brain and body. This may help uncover pathways to stress-related disease and serve to identify starting points for prevention and therapeutic intervention.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-05-262018-02-042018-05-272018-06-062018-10
 Publication Status: Issued
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.05.023
PMID: 29885438
Other: Epub 2018
 Degree: -



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Project information

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Project name : Plasticity of the Empathic Brain: Structural and Functional MRI Studies on the Effect of Empathy Training on the Human Brain and Prosocial Behaviour / EMPATHICBRAIN
Grant ID : 205557
Funding program : Funding Programme 7
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
Project name : -
Grant ID : -
Funding program : -
Funding organization : Max Planck Society

Source 1

Title: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Orlando, Fla. : Academic Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 73 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 390 - 402 Identifier: ISSN: 0889-1591
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922649133