Distressed about the stress response: associations between hormonal contraceptive use, women’s stress response, inflammation, and moodShow full item record
|Distressed about the stress response: associations between hormonal contraceptive use, women’s stress response, inflammation, and mood
|Mengelkoch, Summer Lynn
|Doctor of Philosophy
|Research finds women using hormonal contraceptives (HCs) exhibit a blunted cortisol response to psychosocial stress, which could have detrimental effects on women’s mental health. As such, the current research aimed to better understand women’s biological and subjective stress responses. Participants included naturally cycling (NC) women (n = 72) and women using first, second, and third generation oral HCs (n = 72), who were all exposed to the stress condition of the Trier Social Stress task. Researchers assessed women’s (a) cortisol responses to stress, (b) inflammatory responses to stress, including pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 1 beta [IL-1ß], IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-a]), and (c) mood following stress. Additionally, researchers explored if these responses to stress differ based upon (d) the generation of HC women use. Results revealed that while women using HCs did not exhibit a blunted cortisol response to stress compared to NC women, women using HCs and NC women exhibited different patterns of proinflammatory cytokine levels following stress, which also differed between users of different generations of HCs. In NC women, cortisol and IL-6 rose together in response to stress, and these biological responses to stress were accompanied by more positive moods and reductions in subjective stress levels. In women using HCs, cortisol and TNF-a rose together in response to stress, and these biological responses were accompanied by more negative moods and increases in subjective stress levels. These results indicate that women using HCs, compared to NC women, may struggle to psychologically mange the stress they experience, which may have widespread implications for their mental health.
|Hill, Sarah E.
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- Doctoral Dissertations