Background: The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) includes key components of public speaking and public performance on an arithmetic test that produce significant subjective stress. Biochemical and hormonal correlates of stress include measures of salivary cortisol which reflects activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and changes in immunoglobulin (IgA) response. However, stress studies suggest variability in the IgA. The studies presented compared these responses using the TSST and a computer multitasking exercise to contrast mental stress with physical work. Methods: The first study evaluated the effects of the TSST in a before and after design contrasting Spielberger state anxiety levels against salivary cortisol (ELISA: Immunodiagnostic Systems) and IgA (Immunoturbidometric assay: DAKO) measured before and after the social stress procedure. The second utilised a similar before and after design and the same measures with the addition of the NASA TLX workload index to compare mental and physical workload, in a balanced order on different days, when undertaking a computer based multitasking procedure involving an arithmetic component, together with continuous monitoring of 3 other tasks including auditory tone discrimination, continuous visual monitoring, and memory: DISS). Physical exercise utilised a cycle ergometer monitoring heart rate to achieve 65-75% of aerobic threshold. These 2 tests were undertaken in private test rooms. The 2 studies involved 12 (TSST) or 13 (multitasking/exercise) student participants (both males and females age range 19-37 years) who were paid £10 on completion. Results: Analyses based on Non parametric ANOVA followed by paired comparisons indicated that the most dramatic effects were seen with TSST including significant elevations in state anxiety on test completion relative to pre-test state scores and trait anxiety. Significant increases in salivary cortisol were also seen post-test as were significant decreases in IgA levels. Increases in state anxiety were also seen with the DISS multitasking test that contrasted with a trend for reduced state anxiety after exercise in comparison to pre-test levels. A slight suppression in both cortisol and IgA levels were seen after both DISS and exercise, achieving significance with DISS but not after exercise. NASA TLX clearly distinguished DISS multitasking from exercise with mental and physical workload contrasts. Conclusions: A comparison of the social stress (TSST) with the privately undertaken multitasking procedure indicates that the social stress had a larger impact on subjective stress and reflected in elevated HPA activity (cortisol) as well as a suppression in immune response (IgA). However, although the privately undertaken multitasking procedure was perceived as stressful this was not reflected in the level of HPA activation, but produced some supression for cortisol and IgA. Physical stress was associates with mild anticipatory anxiety amongst student volunteers and a small, but expected stress reduction/relaxation response post exercise. However, this was not directly reflected in either cortisol or IgA levels.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2006|
|Event||British Psychological Society - 2006 Psychobiology Annual Meeting - Windermere, UK|
Duration: 1 Sep 2006 → …
|Conference||British Psychological Society - 2006 Psychobiology Annual Meeting|
|Period||1/09/06 → …|