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Psychiatry Res. 2004 May 30;126(3):197-201.

Relationship between baseline cortisol, social functioning and depression: a mediation analysis.

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Section of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK.


Both elevated cortisol secretion and low social support have been commonly found in depressed patients, but their respective roles in depression remain unclear. In fact, it may not be a lack of social support but a failure to obtain it that is important. The present study used mediation analysis to study the interrelationships among cortisol, social functioning and depression. Sixty healthy volunteers were recruited from the community. Depression and social functioning were measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and the Social Adaptation Self-evaluation Scale, respectively. Salivary samples were collected to measure the cortisol. Using mediation analysis, it was found that elevated cortisol secretion was a vulnerability factor for low social functioning, leading to higher depression scores. Hypercortisolaemia may be a predisposing factor and may interact with a low level of social functioning leading to depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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