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Cortisol Responses to Perceived Stress in Depressed Individuals and Healthy Controls
Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States
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Major Depressive Disorder MDD is the most common psychological disorder in the United States. This disorder places people at increased risk for cardiovascular illness and mortality. Little is known, however, about the mechanisms that explain the relationship between depression and cardiovascular disease. One possible pathway includes exaggerated responsivity to challenge in depressed individuals. The hypothesis of this investigation is that depressed individuals demonstrate elevated neurohormonal and negative mood responses to mental and physical challenges as compared to nondepressed controls.This investigation examined physiologic and self-reported stress responses in depressed and non-depressed individuals. Specifically, increases in salivary cortisol were examined in during laboratory-based mental challenge tasks and during daily life activities. The general hypothesis of this thesis was that participants with MDD those scoring greater than 17 on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression would show increased salivary cortisol responses to exogenous stimuli that increase levels of perceived stress as compared to non-depressed individuals in multiple settings.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE