Author(s): Gao W, Zhong P, Xie Q, Wang H, Jin J,
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Abstract This study aimed to determine the effect on hair cortisol level of a chronic stress response from the Wenchuan earthquake, and to explore the temporal features of elevated hair cortisol. We recruited two cohorts of earthquake survivors: cohort A consisted of 12 male adults and 8 females and cohort B of 20 male adolescents, with 23 and 29 participants as controls, respectively. Their hair samples closest to the scalp were assayed with mass spectrometry to determine cortisol content. Results revealed that hair cortisol content in survivors of cohort A was significantly higher than in the control. For survivors of cohort B, hair cortisol levels increased 6 and 22 weeks after the earthquake and decreased 43 weeks after the outburst. In conclusion, the chronic stress response elicited by the earthquake resulted in elevated hair cortisol. Timing since the earthquake outburst played an important role in the long-term response of the HPA axis to a major acute stressor. Copyright © 2014 Society for Psychophysiological Research.
This article was published in Psychophysiology
and referenced in Endocrinology & Metabolic Syndrome