Salivary Cortisol and alpha-amylase assayed in ethnic minorities depicts atypical diurnal rhythm
Stress response asymmetries in African American emerging adults exposed to chronic social adversity
Wood, et al., (2021) The International Journal on the Biology of Stress
ABSTRACT: Chronic stress is linked to social adversity and underlies many health disparities among ethnic minorities. Cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) reflect sensitivity to adversity and are related to health outcomes. Our aim was to understand how social adversity influences biological responses to experimental and daily stressors in a sample of low-income African American emerging adults. In the three-week study, participants completed questionnaires, the Trier Social Stress Task (TSST), and provided four salivary samples. In week 2, participants collected saliva at home immediately after waking and just before bed for three days. Results demonstrated an asymmetrical pattern between cortisol and sAA reactivity that was related to experiences with racism and interpersonal trauma. Further, daily stress was related to lower morning and higher nighttime cortisol, indicating atypical diurnal rhythm. These findings are consistent with other forms of social adversity that lead to long-term changes in the HPA axis response pattern.
Keywords: Salivary cortisol, salivary alpha amylase, diurnal rhythm, Trier Social Stress task, health disparities, social adversity
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