Cortisol Awakening Response and Acute Stress Reactivity in First Nations People

Berger, Maximus, Leicht, Anthony, Slatcher, Angela, Kraeuter, Ann-Katrin, Ketheesan, Sarangan, Larkins, Sarah and Sarnyai, Zoltán (2017) Cortisol Awakening Response and Acute Stress Reactivity in First Nations People. Scientific Reports, 7 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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First Nations people globally have a higher incidence of mental disorders and non-communicable diseases. These health inequalities are partially attributed to a complex network of social and environmental factors which likely converge on chronic psychosocial stress. We hypothesized that alterations in stress processing and the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis might underlie health disparities in First Nations people. We assessed the cortisol awakening response and the dynamic response to a laboratory induced psychosocial stress of young Indigenous tertiary students (n = 11, mean age 23.82 years) and non-Indigenous students (n = 11) matched for age and gender. Indigenous participants had a blunted cortisol awakening response (27.40 (SD 35.00) vs. 95.24 (SD 55.23), p = 0.002), which was differentially associated with chronic experience of stress in Indigenous (r = -0.641, p = 0.046) and non-Indigenous (r = 0.652, p = 0.03) participants. The cortisol response to the laboratory induced psychosocial stress did not differ between groups. Self-reported racial discrimination was strongly associated with flattened cortisol response to stress (r = -0676, p = 0.022) and with heart rate variability (r = 0.654, p = 0.040). Our findings provide insight into potential biological factors underlying health discrepancies in ethnic minority groups.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Translational research, Stress and resilience, Human behaviour
Subjects: A900 Others in Medicine and Dentistry
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2020 13:28
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 12:04

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