Sexual Orientation Modulates Endocrine Stress Reactivity

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JUSTER, Robert-Paul, Mark L. HATZENBUEHLER, Adrianna MENDREK, James G. PFAUS, Nathan Grant SMITH, Philip Jai JOHNSON, Jean-Philippe LEFEBVRE-LOUIS, Catherine RAYMOND, Marie-France MARIN, Jens C. PRUESSNER, 2015. Sexual Orientation Modulates Endocrine Stress Reactivity. In: Biological Psychiatry. 77(7), pp. 668-676. ISSN 0006-3223. eISSN 1873-2402

@article{Juster2015-04Sexua-38363, title={Sexual Orientation Modulates Endocrine Stress Reactivity}, year={2015}, doi={10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.08.013}, number={7}, volume={77}, issn={0006-3223}, journal={Biological Psychiatry}, pages={668--676}, author={Juster, Robert-Paul and Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. and Mendrek, Adrianna and Pfaus, James G. and Smith, Nathan Grant and Johnson, Philip Jai and Lefebvre-Louis, Jean-Philippe and Raymond, Catherine and Marin, Marie-France and Pruessner, Jens C.} }

Marin, Marie-France Mendrek, Adrianna Pruessner, Jens C. Smith, Nathan Grant Lefebvre-Louis, Jean-Philippe Mendrek, Adrianna Juster, Robert-Paul Juster, Robert-Paul Pruessner, Jens C. Johnson, Philip Jai Raymond, Catherine Raymond, Catherine Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. Smith, Nathan Grant 2017-04-06T08:00:28Z Marin, Marie-France Johnson, Philip Jai Pfaus, James G. eng Sexual Orientation Modulates Endocrine Stress Reactivity Pfaus, James G. 2015-04 2017-04-06T08:00:28Z Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. Background<br /><br />Biological sex differences and sociocultural gender diversity influence endocrine stress reactivity. Although numerous studies have shown that men typically activate stronger stress responses than women when exposed to laboratory-based psychosocial stressors, it is unclear whether sexual orientation further modulates stress reactivity. Given that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals frequently report heightened distress secondary to stigma-related stressors, we investigated whether cortisol stress reactivity differs between LGB individuals and heterosexual individuals in response to a well-validated psychosocial stressor.<br /><br />Methods<br /><br />The study population comprised 87 healthy adults (mean age, 25 years) who were grouped according to their biological sex and their gendered sexual orientation: lesbian/bisexual women (n = 20), heterosexual women (n = 21), gay/bisexual men (n = 26), and heterosexual men (n = 20). Investigators collected 10 salivary cortisol samples throughout a 2-hour afternoon visit involving exposure to the Trier Social Stress Test modified to maximize between-sex differences.<br /><br />Results<br /><br />Relative to heterosexual women, lesbian/bisexual women showed higher cortisol stress reactivity 40 min after exposure to the stressor. In contrast, gay/bisexual men displayed lower overall cortisol concentrations throughout testing compared with heterosexual men. Main findings were significant while adjusting for sex hormones (estradiol-to-progesterone ratio in women and testosterone in men), age, self-esteem, and disclosure status (whether LGB participants had completed their “coming out”).<br /><br />Conclusions<br /><br />Our results provide novel evidence for gender-based modulation of cortisol stress reactivity based on sexual orientation that goes beyond well-established between-sex differences. This study raises several important avenues for future research related to the physiologic functioning of LGB populations and gender diversity more broadly. Lefebvre-Louis, Jean-Philippe

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