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Emotion regulation: exploring the impact of stress and sex.

Kinner VL, Het S, Wolf OT - Front Behav Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures.The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions.These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum Bochum, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Emotion regulation is a major prerequisite for adaptive behavior. The capacity to regulate emotions is particularly important during and after the encounter of a stressor. However, the impact of acute stress and its associated neuroendocrine alterations on emotion regulation have received little attention so far. This study aimed to explore how stress-induced cortisol increases affect three different emotion regulation strategies. Seventy two healthy men and women were either exposed to a stressor or a control condition. Subsequently participants viewed positive and negative images and were asked to up- or down-regulate their emotional responses or simultaneously required to solve an arithmetic task (distraction). The factors stress, sex, and strategy were operationalized as between group factors (n = 6 per cell). Stress caused an increase in blood pressure and higher subjective stress ratings. An increase in cortisol was observed in male participants only. In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures. The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions. These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Salivary cortisol in nanomoles per liter (M ± s.e.m.) at several time points across the experiment. The lighter gray bar represents the time of the stress and control manipulation, respectively; the darker gray bar represents the time of the emotion regulation paradigm. Cortisol concentrations were significantly increased in the socially evaluated cold-pressor test (SECPT) groups but not in participants exposed to the warm water control condition. Men showed overall higher cortisol concentrations than women. In comparison to men from the control group, stressed men displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after the stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test). Similarly in comparison to women in the control group, stressed women displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test).
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Figure 1: Salivary cortisol in nanomoles per liter (M ± s.e.m.) at several time points across the experiment. The lighter gray bar represents the time of the stress and control manipulation, respectively; the darker gray bar represents the time of the emotion regulation paradigm. Cortisol concentrations were significantly increased in the socially evaluated cold-pressor test (SECPT) groups but not in participants exposed to the warm water control condition. Men showed overall higher cortisol concentrations than women. In comparison to men from the control group, stressed men displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after the stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test). Similarly in comparison to women in the control group, stressed women displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test).

Mentions: Further, cortisol responses were determined not only by stress induction itself, but showed sex-dependent differences, as reflected by a significant time × sex interaction [F(2, 115) = 4.55, p = 0.016] and a significant main effect of sex [F(1, 65) = 19.34, p < 0.001]. The time × stress × sex interaction did not reach significance (p = 0.31). Overall, women compared to men displayed significantly lower cortisol concentrations at all measurements, as indicated by follow-up t-tests (all ps < 0.05). In regard to the stress group only, exploratory t-tests revealed, that whereas at baseline (p = 0.17) the cortisol levels did not differ between men and women, the stress response in men (compared to women) was accompanied by significantly larger cortisol concentrations at all three post-treatment time points (all ps < 0.05) (see Figure 1). As Figure 1 illustrates, stressed women did not show a robust cortisol increase but rather stable cortisol concentrations. They displayed, however, significantly higher cortisol levels than women in the control group 25 min after stress manipulation [t(32) = 2.75, p = 0.01].


Emotion regulation: exploring the impact of stress and sex.

Kinner VL, Het S, Wolf OT - Front Behav Neurosci (2014)

Salivary cortisol in nanomoles per liter (M ± s.e.m.) at several time points across the experiment. The lighter gray bar represents the time of the stress and control manipulation, respectively; the darker gray bar represents the time of the emotion regulation paradigm. Cortisol concentrations were significantly increased in the socially evaluated cold-pressor test (SECPT) groups but not in participants exposed to the warm water control condition. Men showed overall higher cortisol concentrations than women. In comparison to men from the control group, stressed men displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after the stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test). Similarly in comparison to women in the control group, stressed women displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4230035&req=5

Figure 1: Salivary cortisol in nanomoles per liter (M ± s.e.m.) at several time points across the experiment. The lighter gray bar represents the time of the stress and control manipulation, respectively; the darker gray bar represents the time of the emotion regulation paradigm. Cortisol concentrations were significantly increased in the socially evaluated cold-pressor test (SECPT) groups but not in participants exposed to the warm water control condition. Men showed overall higher cortisol concentrations than women. In comparison to men from the control group, stressed men displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after the stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test). Similarly in comparison to women in the control group, stressed women displayed significantly higher cortisol concentrations 25 min after stress manipulation (*p < 0.05; t-test).
Mentions: Further, cortisol responses were determined not only by stress induction itself, but showed sex-dependent differences, as reflected by a significant time × sex interaction [F(2, 115) = 4.55, p = 0.016] and a significant main effect of sex [F(1, 65) = 19.34, p < 0.001]. The time × stress × sex interaction did not reach significance (p = 0.31). Overall, women compared to men displayed significantly lower cortisol concentrations at all measurements, as indicated by follow-up t-tests (all ps < 0.05). In regard to the stress group only, exploratory t-tests revealed, that whereas at baseline (p = 0.17) the cortisol levels did not differ between men and women, the stress response in men (compared to women) was accompanied by significantly larger cortisol concentrations at all three post-treatment time points (all ps < 0.05) (see Figure 1). As Figure 1 illustrates, stressed women did not show a robust cortisol increase but rather stable cortisol concentrations. They displayed, however, significantly higher cortisol levels than women in the control group 25 min after stress manipulation [t(32) = 2.75, p = 0.01].

Bottom Line: In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures.The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions.These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum Bochum, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Emotion regulation is a major prerequisite for adaptive behavior. The capacity to regulate emotions is particularly important during and after the encounter of a stressor. However, the impact of acute stress and its associated neuroendocrine alterations on emotion regulation have received little attention so far. This study aimed to explore how stress-induced cortisol increases affect three different emotion regulation strategies. Seventy two healthy men and women were either exposed to a stressor or a control condition. Subsequently participants viewed positive and negative images and were asked to up- or down-regulate their emotional responses or simultaneously required to solve an arithmetic task (distraction). The factors stress, sex, and strategy were operationalized as between group factors (n = 6 per cell). Stress caused an increase in blood pressure and higher subjective stress ratings. An increase in cortisol was observed in male participants only. In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures. The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions. These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus