Differential effects of subtypes of trauma symptoms on couples' Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity and recovery in response to interpersonal stress

Sally I. Powers, Meredith Gunlicks, Heidemarie Laurent, Susan Balaban, Eileen Bent, Aline Sayer

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This article examined the relation of five subtypes of trauma symptoms to hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) functioning as assessed with salivary cortisol before, during, and after an experimentally induced interpersonal conflict task in 194 heterosexual young adult couples. Trauma history and symptoms were assessed through structured clinical interviews and standardized self-report measures. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the effects of trauma symptoms on trajectories of cortisol reactivity to and recovery from the interpersonal stress. Trauma-related anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and dissociation significantly predicted cortisol reactivity and recovery. Trauma-related anxiety, sleep disturbances, and sexual problems significantly predicted partners' cortisol reactivity to interpersonal stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-433
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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