Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Sep 15;46(6):850-5.

Salivary cortisol and serum prolactin in relation to stress rating scales in a group of rescue workers.

Author information

Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden.



Rescue service personnel are often exposed to traumatic events as part of their occupation, and higher prevalence rates of psychiatric illness have been found among this group.


In 65 rescue workers, salivary cortisol at 8 AM and 10 PM and serum prolactin at 8 AM were related to the psychiatric self-rating scale General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) measuring psychiatric health, and the Impact of Events Scale (IES) and Post Traumatic Symptom Scale (PTSS) measuring posttraumatic symptoms.


Seventeen percent of the study population scored above the GHQ-28 cut-off limit but none scored beyond the cut-off limit in the IES and PTSS questionnaires. Salivary cortisol concentration at 10 PM correlated with statistical significance to anxiety (p < .005) and depressive symptoms (p < .01) measured with GHQ-28, as well as to posttraumatic symptoms, with avoidance behavior measured with IES (p < .01) and PTSS (p < .005). Two of the rescue workers were followed over time with the same sampling procedure after a major rescue commission.


The correlation between evening salivary cortisol and anxiety, depressiveness, and posttraumatic avoidance symptoms indicates that these parameters can be used in screening and follow-up after traumatic stress events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center