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Experience, cortisol reactivity, and the coordination of emotional responses to skydiving.

Meyer VJ, Lee Y, Böttger C, Leonbacher U, Allison AL, Shirtcliff EA - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) revealed that experienced skydivers showed less reactivity and faster recovery compared to first-time skydivers.Higher post-jump happiness predicted faster cortisol recovery after jumping although this effect overlapped somewhat with the effect of experience.Prior experience does not appear to extinguish the stress response but rather alters the individual's engagement of the HPA axis.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University Ames, IA, USA ; Department of Psychiatry, Tulane University New Orleans, LA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Physiological habituation to laboratory stressors has previously been demonstrated, although the literature remains equivocal. Previous studies have found skydiving to be a salient naturalistic stressor that elicits a robust subjective and physiological stress response. However, it is uncertain whether (or how) stress reactivity habituates to this stressor given that skydiving remains a risky, life-threatening challenge with every jump despite experience. While multiple components of the stress response have been documented, it is unclear whether an individual's subjective emotions are related to their physiological responses. Documenting coordinated responsivity would lend insight into shared underlying mechanisms for the nature of habituation of both subjective (emotion) and objective (cortisol) stress responses. Therefore, we examined subjective emotion and cortisol responses in first-time compared to experienced skydivers in a predominantly male sample (total n = 44; males = 32, females = 12). Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) revealed that experienced skydivers showed less reactivity and faster recovery compared to first-time skydivers. Subjective emotions were coordinated with physiological responses primarily within first-time skydivers. Pre-jump anxiety predicted cortisol reactivity within first-time, but not experienced, skydivers. Higher post-jump happiness predicted faster cortisol recovery after jumping although this effect overlapped somewhat with the effect of experience. Results suggest that experience may modulate the coordination of emotional response with cortisol reactivity to skydiving. Prior experience does not appear to extinguish the stress response but rather alters the individual's engagement of the HPA axis.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Subjective emotion ratings among first-time and experienced skydivers. Anxiety and happiness ratings among first-time and experienced jumpers at three time points across the skydiving day confirms that peak anxiety occurred at 1.5 h before the jump and happiness peaked immediately after the jump. This justifies examining these emotions specifically at those time points. Error bars indicate +/− one standard error. Range of possible values 0–160.
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Figure 1: Subjective emotion ratings among first-time and experienced skydivers. Anxiety and happiness ratings among first-time and experienced jumpers at three time points across the skydiving day confirms that peak anxiety occurred at 1.5 h before the jump and happiness peaked immediately after the jump. This justifies examining these emotions specifically at those time points. Error bars indicate +/− one standard error. Range of possible values 0–160.

Mentions: We found no difference between first-time and experienced on pre-jump ratings of anxiety, F(1,42) = 2.52, p = 0.12 (see Figure 1), or on post-jump ratings of happiness, F(1,42) = 0.29, p = 0.60 (see Figure 2). Across both groups, anxiety levels were highest upon arrival at the facility, F(1,43) = 27.47, p < 0.0001, then decreased thereafter. Happiness ratings were highest immediately after landing, F(1,43) = 28.965, p < 0.0001, as expected. The average anxiety rating decreased 50% from before the jump to after the jump and average happiness rating increased 41% from before the jump to immediately after landing. Given that the first time point was the peak in anxiety ratings, and the third time point was the peak in happiness ratings, we selected these time points for our cortisol-emotion analyses. Anxiety at time 1 was centered on the individuals’ mean anxiety ratings and happiness at time 3 was centered on the individuals’ mean happiness ratings.


Experience, cortisol reactivity, and the coordination of emotional responses to skydiving.

Meyer VJ, Lee Y, Böttger C, Leonbacher U, Allison AL, Shirtcliff EA - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Subjective emotion ratings among first-time and experienced skydivers. Anxiety and happiness ratings among first-time and experienced jumpers at three time points across the skydiving day confirms that peak anxiety occurred at 1.5 h before the jump and happiness peaked immediately after the jump. This justifies examining these emotions specifically at those time points. Error bars indicate +/− one standard error. Range of possible values 0–160.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4373275&req=5

Figure 1: Subjective emotion ratings among first-time and experienced skydivers. Anxiety and happiness ratings among first-time and experienced jumpers at three time points across the skydiving day confirms that peak anxiety occurred at 1.5 h before the jump and happiness peaked immediately after the jump. This justifies examining these emotions specifically at those time points. Error bars indicate +/− one standard error. Range of possible values 0–160.
Mentions: We found no difference between first-time and experienced on pre-jump ratings of anxiety, F(1,42) = 2.52, p = 0.12 (see Figure 1), or on post-jump ratings of happiness, F(1,42) = 0.29, p = 0.60 (see Figure 2). Across both groups, anxiety levels were highest upon arrival at the facility, F(1,43) = 27.47, p < 0.0001, then decreased thereafter. Happiness ratings were highest immediately after landing, F(1,43) = 28.965, p < 0.0001, as expected. The average anxiety rating decreased 50% from before the jump to after the jump and average happiness rating increased 41% from before the jump to immediately after landing. Given that the first time point was the peak in anxiety ratings, and the third time point was the peak in happiness ratings, we selected these time points for our cortisol-emotion analyses. Anxiety at time 1 was centered on the individuals’ mean anxiety ratings and happiness at time 3 was centered on the individuals’ mean happiness ratings.

Bottom Line: Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) revealed that experienced skydivers showed less reactivity and faster recovery compared to first-time skydivers.Higher post-jump happiness predicted faster cortisol recovery after jumping although this effect overlapped somewhat with the effect of experience.Prior experience does not appear to extinguish the stress response but rather alters the individual's engagement of the HPA axis.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University Ames, IA, USA ; Department of Psychiatry, Tulane University New Orleans, LA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Physiological habituation to laboratory stressors has previously been demonstrated, although the literature remains equivocal. Previous studies have found skydiving to be a salient naturalistic stressor that elicits a robust subjective and physiological stress response. However, it is uncertain whether (or how) stress reactivity habituates to this stressor given that skydiving remains a risky, life-threatening challenge with every jump despite experience. While multiple components of the stress response have been documented, it is unclear whether an individual's subjective emotions are related to their physiological responses. Documenting coordinated responsivity would lend insight into shared underlying mechanisms for the nature of habituation of both subjective (emotion) and objective (cortisol) stress responses. Therefore, we examined subjective emotion and cortisol responses in first-time compared to experienced skydivers in a predominantly male sample (total n = 44; males = 32, females = 12). Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) revealed that experienced skydivers showed less reactivity and faster recovery compared to first-time skydivers. Subjective emotions were coordinated with physiological responses primarily within first-time skydivers. Pre-jump anxiety predicted cortisol reactivity within first-time, but not experienced, skydivers. Higher post-jump happiness predicted faster cortisol recovery after jumping although this effect overlapped somewhat with the effect of experience. Results suggest that experience may modulate the coordination of emotional response with cortisol reactivity to skydiving. Prior experience does not appear to extinguish the stress response but rather alters the individual's engagement of the HPA axis.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus