Cortisol awakening response and acute stress reactivity in First Nations people

Berger, Maximus, Leicht, Anthony, Slatcher, Angela, Kraeuter, Ann Katrin, Ketheesan, Sarangan, Larkins, Sarah, and Sarnyai, Zoltàn (2017) Cortisol awakening response and acute stress reactivity in First Nations people. Scientific Reports, 7. 41760. pp. 1-10.

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First Nations people globally have a higher incidence of mental disorders and non-communicable diseases. These health inequalities are partially attributed to a complex network of social and environmental factors which likely converge on chronic psychosocial stress. We hypothesized that alterations in stress processing and the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis might underlie health disparities in First Nations people. We assessed the cortisol awakening response and the dynamic response to a laboratory induced psychosocial stress of young Indigenous tertiary students (n = 11, mean age 23.82 years) and non-Indigenous students (n = 11) matched for age and gender. Indigenous participants had a blunted cortisol awakening response (27.40 (SD 35.00) vs. 95.24 (SD 55.23), p = 0.002), which was differentially associated with chronic experience of stress in Indigenous (r = −0.641, p = 0.046) and non-Indigenous (r = 0.652, p = 0.03) participants. The cortisol response to the laboratory induced psychosocial stress did not differ between groups. Self-reported racial discrimination was strongly associated with flattened cortisol response to stress (r = −0676, p = 0.022) and with heart rate variability (r = 0.654, p = 0.040). Our findings provide insight into potential biological factors underlying health discrepancies in ethnic minority groups.

Item ID: 46987
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2017 01:43
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3209 Neurosciences > 320901 Autonomic nervous system @ 10%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3209 Neurosciences > 320903 Central nervous system @ 80%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320208 Endocrinology @ 10%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 80%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 20%
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