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Coll Antropol. 1997 Jun;21(1):17-28.

Physiological consequences of everyday psychosocial stress.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University of Durham, Great Britain.


A large body of data has been accumulated concerning physiological responses in people exposed to stressors in laboratories. Adrenaline and cortisol have become known as "stress hormones" because, in men, levels of both hormones consistently rise in response to stress in laboratory-based investigations. If chronically repeated, elevation of adrenaline and cortisol is likely to have long-term consequences for health, especially cardiovascular health, partly via the effects of the hormones on blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Research on people conducting their everyday lives is necessary to establish whether the same responses are shown on a day to day basis. Such research requires new methodologies and careful data collection. So far, it has been shown that adrenaline and blood pressure do seem to vary in expected ways. Other responses in everyday life, including those of cholesterol, cortisol and the immune system, are less well characterised.

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