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Mood and autonomic responses to repeated exposure to the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (TSST-G)


Bösch, Maria; Sefidan, Sandra; Ehlert, Ulrike; Annen, Hubert; Wyss, Thomas; Steptoe, Andrew; La Marca, Roberto (2014). Mood and autonomic responses to repeated exposure to the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (TSST-G). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 43:41-51.

Abstract

Introduction
A group version of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST-G) was introduced as a standardized, economic and efficient tool to induce a psychobiological stress response simultaneously in a group of subjects. The aim of the present study was to examine the efficacy of the TSST-G to repeatedly induce an affective and autonomic stress response while comparing two alternative protocols for the second examination.

Methods and material
Healthy young male recruits participated twice in the TSST-G 10 weeks apart. In the first examination, the TSST-G consisted of a combination of mental arithmetic and a fake job interview (TSST-G-1st; n = 294). For the second examination, mental arithmetic was combined with either (a) a defensive speech in response to a false shoplifting accusation (TSST-G-2nd-defence; n = 105), or (b) a speech on a more neutral topic selected by the investigators (TSST-G-2nd-presentation; n = 100). Affect ratings and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) were determined immediately before and after the stress test, while heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were measured continuously.

Results
TSST-G-1st resulted in a significant increase of negative affect, HR, and sAA, and a significant decrease in positive affect and HRV. TSST-G-2nd, overall, resulted in a significant increase of HR and sAA (the latter only in response to TSST-G-2nd-defence) and a decrease in HRV, while no significant affect alterations were found. When comparing both, TSST-G-2nd-defence and -2nd-presentation, the former resulted in a stronger stress response with regard to HR and HRV.

Discussion
The findings reveal that the TSST-G is a useful protocol to repeatedly evoke an affective and autonomic stress response, while repetition leads to affective but not necessarily autonomic habituation. When interested in examining repeated psychosocial stress reactivity, a task that requires an ego-involving effort, such as a defensive speech, seems to be significantly superior to a task using an impersonal speech.

Abstract

Introduction
A group version of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST-G) was introduced as a standardized, economic and efficient tool to induce a psychobiological stress response simultaneously in a group of subjects. The aim of the present study was to examine the efficacy of the TSST-G to repeatedly induce an affective and autonomic stress response while comparing two alternative protocols for the second examination.

Methods and material
Healthy young male recruits participated twice in the TSST-G 10 weeks apart. In the first examination, the TSST-G consisted of a combination of mental arithmetic and a fake job interview (TSST-G-1st; n = 294). For the second examination, mental arithmetic was combined with either (a) a defensive speech in response to a false shoplifting accusation (TSST-G-2nd-defence; n = 105), or (b) a speech on a more neutral topic selected by the investigators (TSST-G-2nd-presentation; n = 100). Affect ratings and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) were determined immediately before and after the stress test, while heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were measured continuously.

Results
TSST-G-1st resulted in a significant increase of negative affect, HR, and sAA, and a significant decrease in positive affect and HRV. TSST-G-2nd, overall, resulted in a significant increase of HR and sAA (the latter only in response to TSST-G-2nd-defence) and a decrease in HRV, while no significant affect alterations were found. When comparing both, TSST-G-2nd-defence and -2nd-presentation, the former resulted in a stronger stress response with regard to HR and HRV.

Discussion
The findings reveal that the TSST-G is a useful protocol to repeatedly evoke an affective and autonomic stress response, while repetition leads to affective but not necessarily autonomic habituation. When interested in examining repeated psychosocial stress reactivity, a task that requires an ego-involving effort, such as a defensive speech, seems to be significantly superior to a task using an impersonal speech.

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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:DoktoratPSYCH Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:10 Mar 2014 10:21
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:42
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4530
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.02.003
PubMed ID:24703169

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