Overall cortisol, diurnal slope, and stress reactivity in psychosis: an experience sampling approach

Thomas Vaessen, Zuzana Kasanova, Dennis Hernaus, Johan Lataster, Dina Collip, Martine van Nierop, Inez Myin-Germeys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Results from experimental studies suggest that psychosis and psychosis liability are associated with increased cortisol levels and blunted cortisol reactivity, and that use of antipsychotics may reduce these aberrations. Here, we report on overall cortisol, diurnal slope, and cortisol stress reactivity in everyday life in psychosis and psychosis liability using the experience sampling method (ESM).

Methods: Our sample consisted of individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorder currently on (MPD; n = 53) or off antipsychotic medication (NMPD; n = 20), first-degree relatives of psychotic patients (REL; n = 47), and healthy volunteers (HV; n = 67). Saliva samples were collected throughout the day on six consecutive days and analyzed for cortisol levels. Simultaneously, stressfulness of the current activity was assessed with ESM questionnaires.

Results: We found no group differences in overall cortisol level between groups, but REL had a steeper diurnal slope than HV; in MPD a trend was found in the same direction. Regarding reactivity to stressful activities, results indicated attenuation of the cortisol response in both patient groups compared to HV.

Conclusion: These results do not confirm reports of increased cortisol levels in psychosis, but provide evidence of stress-related cortisol alterations in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume96
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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Keywords

  • 1ST-EPISODE PSYCHOSIS
  • AWAKENING RESPONSE
  • Ambulatory assessment
  • Antipsychotics
  • BIPOLAR DISORDER
  • DAILY-LIFE STRESS
  • DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE-SULFATE
  • EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY
  • Familial risk
  • HPA axis
  • METABOLIC STRESS
  • Psychotic disorder
  • SALIVARY CORTISOL
  • SCHIZOPHRENIC-PATIENTS
  • Schizophrenia
  • UNAFFECTED SIBLINGS

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