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Journal Article

Citation

Klumbies E, Braeuer D, Hoyer J, Kirschbaum C. PLoS One 2014; 9(8): e105670.

Affiliation

Institute of Biopsychology, Technische Universitaet Dresden, Dresden, Germany.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2014, Public Library of Science)

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0105670

PMID

25153526

PMCID

PMC4143269

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Research on the biopsychological background of social phobia (SP) is scarce and inconsistent. We investigated endocrine and autonomic markers along with subjective responses to a standardized stress situation (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) in SP patients and healthy controls (HC).

METHODS: We examined 88 patients with the primary diagnosis of SP as well as 78 age and sex comparable HCs with the TSST. Blood and saliva samples were obtained before and after the TSST for the assessment of salivary cortisol, plasma cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), and prolactin. Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were recorded continuously. Scalp-near hair samples were collected for the assessment of long-term cortisol secretion. The self-reported stress response was measured with different state and trait scales.

RESULTS: While self-reported anxiety was elevated in SP before, during, immediately after, and one week after the TSST, no significant differences in biological stress responses were observed between SP and HC. There was a trend for SP to show higher baseline stress markers. Also long-term cortisol deposition in hair remained unaltered.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the excessive self-reported stress in SP is not reflected by a respective biological stress response. Patients with SP apparently show neither an extreme form of focused fear reactivity nor excessive defensive impairment.


Language: en

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