User Manual Privacy Policy Disclaimer Contact us
  Advanced SearchBrowse


  Differentiating anticipatory from reactive cortisol responses to psychosocial stress

Engert, V., Efanov, S. I., Duchesne, A., Vogel, S., Corbo, V., & Pruessner, J. C. (2013). Differentiating anticipatory from reactive cortisol responses to psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(8), 1328-1337. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.018.

Item is


show hide
Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-FB77-D Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-FB78-C
Genre: Journal Article


show Files




Engert, Veronika1, 2, Author              
Efanov, Simona I.1, Author
Duchesne, Annie1, Author
Vogel, Susanne3, Author
Corbo, Vincent1, Author
Pruessner, Jens C.1, 4, Author
1Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada, ou_persistent22              
2Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_634552              
3Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
4McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Anticipatory stress; Cortisol; Alpha-amylase; Subjective–psychological stress response
 Abstract: Most psychosocial stress studies assess the overall cortisol response without further identifying the temporal dynamics within hormone levels. It has been shown, however, that the amplitude of anticipatory cortisol stress levels has a unique predictive value for psychological health. So far, no “best practice” in how to investigate the anticipatory cortisol stress response has emerged. The goal of the current research was to develop a protocol that would allow for a sensitive and easy-to-implement laboratory-based investigation into anticipatory cortisol stress levels. We initially tested 26 healthy men in either an anticipation- or stress-only condition of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) to map the distinct timelines of anticipatory and reactive cortisol release profiles (study 1). Subsequently, we administered the TSST to 50 healthy men such that the cortisol responses to anticipatory and reactive stress components could be dissociated (study 2). In both studies we sampled saliva cortisol at high frequency (at baseline, during 10 min of anticipation and during and after 10 min of acute stress) and the current mood state pre- and post-stress. We found anticipatory responder rates of 20% and 40%, with peak anticipatory cortisol levels between 14 and 20 min after onset of anticipation. Visible changes in reactive cortisol levels occurred only after the termination of the acute stressor. We conclude that the best practice to detect a maximum number of anticipatory responders in the TSST would be to extend the anticipation phase to 15 min. In doing so, the anticipatory cortisol peak could be captured at a time-point of the actual stressor that is uninfluenced by reactive cortisol levels. Overall, we could reveal several features of anticipatory responders. Most importantly, there was a positive correlation between anticipatory and reactive stress responses. There was no association between anticipatory cortisol and alpha-amylase as well as subjective–psychological stress responses. Future studies will have to determine whether the anticipatory responders differ with respect to various stress-sensitive parameters like sex, personality, psychological wellbeing or chronic stress.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2012-11-192012-04-112012-11-192012-12-042013-08
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.018
PMID: 23246327
Other: Epub 2012
 Degree: -



Legal Case


Project information


Source 1

Title: Psychoneuroendocrinology
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: -
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 38 (8) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1328 - 1337 Identifier: ISSN: 0306-4530
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925514499