No PTSD-related differences in diurnal cortisol profiles of genocide survivors

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2009
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Engler, Harald
Riether, Carsten
Kolassa, Stephan
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Stress and trauma-associated immunological changes and their implications on health
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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009, 34(4), pp. 523-531. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.10.012
Zusammenfassung

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been associated with reduced cortisol levels. Opposing results have been interpreted as resulting from methodological differences between studies.We investigated the diurnal profile of salivary cortisol in a population of highly traumatized adult males from Rwanda with and without PTSD, who spent the whole day of examination together under amaximally standardized schedule. Besides the detection of PTSDrelated alterations in cortisol release we aimed at determining physiologically relevant effects of cumulative trauma exposure on HPA functioning in interaction with or independent of diagnosis. There were no differences in the diurnal pattern of cortisol release between subjects with and without PTSD. We observed an increasing prevalence of PTSD with increasing number of different traumatic event types experienced, replicating earlier results on a building-block effect of multiple traumatization. However, size of cumulative exposure was not related to any of the cortisol measures. The results suggest that besides methodological constraints also confounding factors not previously controlled for, e.g., sex differences or current life stress, might contribute to the diverging results of lowered, unchanged or enhanced cortisol secretion in PTSD. Future research should therefore closely monitor these possible confounds to optimize models for cortisol in research on stress-dependent illnesses.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
150 Psychologie
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Cortisol, HPA axis, Posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, Stress, Building-block effect
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ISO 690ECKART, Cindy, Harald ENGLER, Carsten RIETHER, Stephan KOLASSA, Thomas ELBERT, Iris-Tatjana KOLASSA, 2009. No PTSD-related differences in diurnal cortisol profiles of genocide survivors. In: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009, 34(4), pp. 523-531. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.10.012
BibTex
@article{Eckart2009PTSDr-10998,
  year={2009},
  doi={10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.10.012},
  title={No PTSD-related differences in diurnal cortisol profiles of genocide survivors},
  number={4},
  volume={34},
  journal={Psychoneuroendocrinology},
  pages={523--531},
  author={Eckart, Cindy and Engler, Harald and Riether, Carsten and Kolassa, Stephan and Elbert, Thomas and Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana}
}
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