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Higher overcommitment to work is associated with higher plasma cortisol but not ACTH responses in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test in apparently healthy men and women


Wirtz, P H; Siegrist, J; Schuhmacher, A; Hoefels, S; Maier, W; Zobel, A W (2010). Higher overcommitment to work is associated with higher plasma cortisol but not ACTH responses in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test in apparently healthy men and women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(4):536-543.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Overcommitment (OC) is a pattern of excessive striving that has been associated with alterations in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system. To investigate whether overcommitment is associated with alterations in HPA system function we measured cortisol and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) release in response to the combined dexamethasone/CRH test. METHODS: We recruited 92 men and 108 women of a wide range of OC scores including the minimum (6) and maximum (24) of possible OC scores (mean+/-SEM: 13.25+/-.27). We repeatedly measured plasma cortisol and ACTH levels in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test after injection of 100mul CRH preceded by administration of 1.5mg dexamethasone the night before. Moreover, we assessed depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI) and work stress (effort-reward-imbalance, ERI). RESULTS: Independent of age and gender, higher OC was associated with higher repeated cortisol (interaction time-by-OC: p=.014, f=.15) but not ACTH (p=.22) secretion in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test. Similarly, higher cortisol (beta=.16, p=.029, R(2)=.02) but not ACTH (p=.47) increase following CRH injection was predicted by higher OC. Depressive symptoms (BDI score) and work stress scores (effort-reward-ratio) did not relate to neuroendocrine responses to the dexamethasone/CRH test. Controlling for depressive symptoms and work stress scores in addition to age and gender did not change results. OC was not associated with ACTH or cortisol pre-test levels. DISCUSSION: Whereas OC was not associated with alterations in negative feedback sensitivity after dexamethasone administration, our findings indicate that with increasing OC scores, a higher reactivity of the adrenal cortex together with a normal reactivity of the pituitary is observed following subsequent stimulation by CRH injection.

BACKGROUND: Overcommitment (OC) is a pattern of excessive striving that has been associated with alterations in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system. To investigate whether overcommitment is associated with alterations in HPA system function we measured cortisol and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) release in response to the combined dexamethasone/CRH test. METHODS: We recruited 92 men and 108 women of a wide range of OC scores including the minimum (6) and maximum (24) of possible OC scores (mean+/-SEM: 13.25+/-.27). We repeatedly measured plasma cortisol and ACTH levels in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test after injection of 100mul CRH preceded by administration of 1.5mg dexamethasone the night before. Moreover, we assessed depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI) and work stress (effort-reward-imbalance, ERI). RESULTS: Independent of age and gender, higher OC was associated with higher repeated cortisol (interaction time-by-OC: p=.014, f=.15) but not ACTH (p=.22) secretion in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test. Similarly, higher cortisol (beta=.16, p=.029, R(2)=.02) but not ACTH (p=.47) increase following CRH injection was predicted by higher OC. Depressive symptoms (BDI score) and work stress scores (effort-reward-ratio) did not relate to neuroendocrine responses to the dexamethasone/CRH test. Controlling for depressive symptoms and work stress scores in addition to age and gender did not change results. OC was not associated with ACTH or cortisol pre-test levels. DISCUSSION: Whereas OC was not associated with alterations in negative feedback sensitivity after dexamethasone administration, our findings indicate that with increasing OC scores, a higher reactivity of the adrenal cortex together with a normal reactivity of the pituitary is observed following subsequent stimulation by CRH injection.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Overcommitment, combined dexamethasone/CRH test, cortisol, ACTH, cardiovascular disease risk, depressive symptoms
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:13 Nov 2009 05:54
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:31
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4530
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.09.002
PubMed ID:19818562
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-23655

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