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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Jan;37(1):157-61. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.05.009. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Alterations in the neuroendocrinological stress response to acute psychosocial stress in adolescents engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury.

Author information

1
Section for Disorders of Personality Development, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre of Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany. kaessmichael@googlemail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the neuroendocrinological stress response to acute psychosocial stress in a clinical sample of female adolescents engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI).

METHODS:

The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), a standardized psychosocial stress protocol, was performed in 14 female patients who engaged in NSSI and 14 healthy control subjects. NSSI was assessed by the Functional Assessment of Self-Mutilation (FASM). Salivary cortisol, heart rate, and affective states, assessed by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), were measured during the TSST.

RESULTS:

We found an attenuated cortisol response to acute psychosocial stress in female adolescents with NSSI, whereas no group differences were observed in heart rate and emotional response to the TSST.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings indicate that the HPA axis is hyporesponsive in adolescents with NSSI. Therefore, reduced secretion of cortisol could play a role in promoting vulnerability of these individuals to acute stress and maladaptive stress responses.

PMID:
21676550
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.05.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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