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Vol. 68, No. 3, 1999
Issue release date: May–June 1999
Section title: Special Article
Psychother Psychosom 1999;68:114–150
(DOI:10.1159/000012323)

Psychological Stress and Neuroendocrine Function in Humans: The Last Two Decades of Research

Biondi M. · Picardi A.
Dipartimento di Scienze Psichiatriche e Medicina Psicologica, III Clinica Psichiatrica, Università ‘La Sapienza’, Roma, Italia

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Special Article

Published online: 4/29/1999

Number of Print Pages: 37
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS

Abstract

This paper reviews experimental contributions published in the last two decades and exploring the effect of emotional stress on neuroendocrine function in healthy humans. Laboratory studies allow standardization of the stressor and better control for known confounding factors. Commonly used stressors are mental arithmetics, speech tasks, the Stroop test, videogame playing, films or videotapes and interviews. Little is known about the generalizability of laboratory results, with some studies suggesting great caution in extrapolating data to real-life stress conditions. Another strategy is studying the psychoendocrine reaction to real-life stressors, such as bereavement or anticipated loss, academic examinations, everyday work and parachute jumping. The effects of different stressors on neuroendocrine axes are reviewed, as well as the influence of gender, age, personality, coping style, social support, biological and nonbiological interventions. The subjective perception of the situation is probably a main determinant of the psychoendocrine response pattern. In fact, marked variability in individual responses to a variety of stressors has frequently been observed. Evidently, the ‘objective’ characteristics of a given event are not the only determinants of reaction to the event itself. According to a constructivistic perspective, every given stressor has a strictly personal and idiosyncratic meaning and loses its ‘objective’ characteristics. Of course, biological factors may also play a part. In any case, it is mandatory to overcome a rigid dichotomy between psychological and biological processes. Dualistic conceptions which imply a determination of the physical by the psychological or vice versa should give place to a systemic conception, which implies mutual, circular interactions.


  

Author Contacts

Massimo Biondi
III Clinica Psichiatrica
Dipartimento di Scienze Psichiatriche e Medicina Psicologica, Università ‘La Sapienza’
Viale dell’Università 30, I–00185 Roma (Italy)
Tel. +39 06 49914591, Fax +39 06 4454765

  

Article Information

Number of Print Pages : 37
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 210

  

Publication Details

Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Founded 1953 as ‘Acta Psychotherapeutica et Psychosomatica’ by E.A.D.E. Carp and B. Stokvis, continued by Th. Spoerri (1964–1974) and P.E. Sifneos (1974–1991)

Vol. 68, No. 3, Year 1999 (Cover Date: May-June 1999)

Journal Editor: G.A. Fava, Bologna
ISSN: 0033–3190 (print), 1423–0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/pps


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Special Article

Published online: 4/29/1999

Number of Print Pages: 37
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS


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