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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2006 Aug;31(7):825-38. Epub 2006 May 23.

Increased cortisol in women with intimate partner violence-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh Sennott Square, 3rd Floor, 210 S. Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. sabra.inslicht@ucsf.edu

Erratum in

  • Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2006 Nov;31(10):1295-6.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alterations of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function and sympathetic-adrenal activity have been proposed as key factors in biological models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

METHODS:

We examined neuroendocrine function in female survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) with lifetime (current or remitted) PTSD (n=29) and in women who were exposed to IPV but never developed PTSD (n=20). Salivary cortisol was collected as a marker of HPA axis function at 1, 4, 9, and 11 h after awakening. Platelet epinephrine and norepinephrine were assayed as markers of sympathetic-adrenal activation.

RESULTS:

Women with lifetime PTSD had significantly higher cortisol levels across the day compared to abuse-exposed participants without PTSD, after controlling for age, depression, severity, and latency of abuse. There were no significant group differences in levels of platelet catecholamines.

CONCLUSIONS:

Elevated cortisol levels may be a biomarker of IPV-related lifetime PTSD, reflecting long-lasting changes associated with trauma-exposure or possibly a reflection of risk for PTSD in women.

PMID:
16716530
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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