The Role of Emotional Dysregulation in Perceived Distress and Cortisol Response during Acute Psychosocial Stress Open Access

Meffert, Liana Kelley (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/xw42n8523?locale=en
Published

Abstract

Adverse physical and mental health outcomes are known to be associated with one's social environment and stressful life experiences. Emotional dysregulation (ED) is a potential mediator of the adverse health outcomes associated with life stress, trauma, and psychopathology. The current study explores associations between ED, subjective emotional distress, and plasma cortisol response to a standardized social-evaluative stressor, the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST).

The study demographic consists of African-American women with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and high rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a low socioeconomic (SES) inner-city population. ED was measured using the Difficulties in Emotional Dysregulation measure while subjective distress was measured using the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Current symptoms of MDD and PTSD were measured and controlled for using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS).

A significant association was found between high ED and increased subjective distress immediately following the TSST, suggesting that ED may contribute to the relationship between social-evaluative stressors and psychological stress. Critically, the effect remained significant when controlling for the presence of current MDD and PTSD symptoms. Total changes in plasma cortisol were measured using an area under the curve analysis. We found that there was trend for association between ED and total plasma cortisol output.

In sum, ED may increase subjective distress and HPA-axis dysregulation, ultimately leading to whole-body adverse outcomes in high-risk populations. Our data suggest that ED may be a potential therapeutic target for at-risk populations.


Table of Contents

Introduction.......................................................................................................................................1

Background........................................................................................................................................2

Methods............................................................................................................................................11

Results..............................................................................................................................................20

Discussion.........................................................................................................................................25

Limitations & Future Directions.............................................................................................................32

Table 1..............................................................................................................................................18

Table 2..............................................................................................................................................22

Table 3..............................................................................................................................................33

Figure 1............................................................................................................................................20

Figure 2.............................................................................................................................................21

Figure 3............................................................................................................................................ 23

Figure 4.............................................................................................................................................24

References........................................................................................................................................35

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Keyword
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files