Gold SM, Zakowski SG, Valdimarsdottir HB, Bovbjerg DH.

Depressive symptoms in the non-clinical range have been linked to increased health risks. Recent theorizing raises the possibility that heightened physiologic responses to acute stress and/or slowed stress recovery in individuals with depressive symptoms may contribute to increased risk. We investigated stress-induced catecholamine responses and recovery patterns using a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test (15 min) with a sample of 52 healthy women and compared subgroups with high normal versus low scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, median split) to 29 women randomly assigned to a non-stressed control group. The BDI-high normal and BDI-low groups showed similar acute increases in epinephrine immediately post stressor, but only the BDI-high normal group remained significantly elevated above control group levels during the recovery period. No differences were found in norepinephrine responses. Elevations in BDI scores within the normal range may selectively predict slower physiological recovery following acute stress.

Biol Psychol 2004;67:261-73.

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