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Psychophysiology. 2006 Jul;43(4):366-71.

Responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in single versus grouped participants.

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Department of Psychiatry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Psychological stress plays an important role in psychopathologies. Laboratory methods have been designed to study stress responses in health and disease. The Trier Social Stress Test is a procedure designed to induce psychosocial stress, but the method is costly in terms of time and personnel requirements. We investigated whether conducting the task with multiple participants influenced cortisol, heart rate, and subjective responses and improved efficiency. Healthy male and female volunteers (N = 32) performed the task individually or in groups. Salivary cortisol, anxiety, and jitteriness increased and calmness decreased similarly in both conditions. Grouped participants exhibited greater peak increases in heart rate than those who performed individually. The findings suggest that the TSST may be conducted with multiple participants without significantly affecting subjective and cortisol responses to the task.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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