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BACKGROUND: Loss events are the stressors most closely associated with the onset of depressive illnesses. The acute cortisol response to loss has been little studied although it could be an important mediator of the effects of environmental stress on psychological state. METHODS: The salivary cortisol response to an established negative mood induction procedure involving music and an imagined bereavement was measured in 30 healthy volunteers. RESULTS: Considerable but transient mood lowering in response to the negative mood induction was associated with a small increase in cortisol output over 30 min. CONCLUSIONS: This procedure has some potential as a tool to investigate individual differences in the neuroendocrine response to loss events, but this is limited. There remains a need for laboratory models of relevant psychosocial stressors in mood disorders research.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Psychol Med

Publication Date

01/2000

Volume

30

Pages

219 - 223

Keywords

Adult, Affect, Bereavement, Female, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System, Imagination, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Psychological, Pituitary-Adrenal System, Saliva, Stress, Psychological