It appears that your browser may be outdated and performance may be limited. The My Study builder is best viewed with the latest internet browsers. However, if you’d prefer to use our standard form, you can access it below.

Go to Internet Explorer Quick Quote Form

Dismiss this message

Salivary Bioscience News

Childhood maltreatment affects cortisol and alpha-amylase stress reactivity

Patterns of cortisol and alpha-amylase reactivity to psychosocial stress in maltreated women

Author: Mielock AS, et al. (2017), Journal of Affective Disorders

BACKGROUND: Childhood maltreatment can trigger enduring changes in major stress response systems, particularly in the context of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, the relative impact of maltreatment versus MDD on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary system stress reactivity is not well understood.
METHOD: This study examined salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in 26 maltreated (15 with current MDD) and 26 non-maltreated (17 with current MDD) women.
RESULTS: Maltreated women showed greater anticipatory cortisol reactivity during the TSST protocol compared to non-maltreated women. Maltreated women also showed rapid deceleration in cortisol levels. Whereas non-maltreated women showed initial declines in alpha-amylase levels but rapidly increasing alpha-amylase levels during the TSST protocol, maltreated women did not exhibit changes in alpha-amylase levels during the TSST protocol. Contrary to expectation, MDD did not impact cortisol or alpha-amylase responses.
LIMITATIONS: The present study is limited by retrospective report of childhood maltreatment, cross-sectional design, and modest sample sizes.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that childhood maltreatment plays a greater role driving alterations in cortisol and alpha-amylase stress reactivity than MDD. Understanding the biological embedding of maltreatment is critical for elucidating mechanisms linking these experiences to risk for negative mental and physical health outcomes.

View Abstract

Keywords: Salivary cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase, maltreatment, stress reactivity, witnessing violence, women

*Note: Salimetrics provides this information for research use only (RUO). Information is not provided to promote off-label use of medical devices. Pease consult the full-text article.