Fingernail cortisol as a marker of chronic stress exposure in Indigenous and non-Indigenous young adults

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Abstract

Cumulative exposure to stress over a long period can negatively impact an individual’s health. Significant advancements in biomarkers of chronic stress have been made, with the use of fingernails recently explored. Cross sectional data from the Australian Aboriginal Birth Cohort (Indigenous) and Top End Cohort (non-Indigenous) were used to investigate the associations (sociodemographic and emotional) of fingernail cortisol in Indigenous and non-Indigenous young adults. Details on sociodemographic (age, gender, and Indigenous identification), smoking and alcohol use, emotional wellbeing, and emotional stress (perceived stress and stressful events), and fingernail samples were obtained face-to-face. Fingernail samples were analyzed for 179 Indigenous and 66 non-Indigenous participants (21–28 years). Indigenous participants were subjected to higher rates of stressful events compared to non-Indigenous (Median 6.0; interquartile range (IQR) 4, 9 vs. 1.0; IQR 0, 2; p

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Davison, B., Singh, G. R., Oguoma, V. M., & McFarlane, J. (2020). Fingernail cortisol as a marker of chronic stress exposure in Indigenous and non-Indigenous young adults. Stress, 23(3), 298–307. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2019.1683159

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