The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) is an effective psychosocial laboratory protocol for inducing stress in humans and has been used in numerous research studies. The stressor leads to a physiological response of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA) and the autonomous nervous system (ANS). Common biomarkers are cortisol levels and heart rate. In addition to the physiological stress response, the TSST also triggers a psychological response such as an increase in perceived stress, anxiety and emotional insecurity. Whereas HPA and ANS measures can easily be obtained for the TSST period itself, psychological measures are usually determined prior to (baseline) and after the TSST. This may exclude information of the stressful event itself. In the present study, we assessed perceived stress, anxiety and emotional insecurity before, during and after the TSST using visual analogue scales. In addition, cortisol levels and heart rates were assessed. Data of 260 healthy non-smoking males aged 16-60 yrs were used for analyses. Our results show that stress perception, anxiety and emotional insecurity were significantly higher during the TSST as compared to post-TSST ratings. Furthermore, our results suggest a covariance of the psychological stress response during the TSST and the physiological stress responses (cortisol and heart rate) for stress perception though the explained variance was small. This observation was not found for pre- and post-TSST ratings suggesting that assessing psychological stress measures during the stressor itself present a more informative measure of the stress response. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
J., H., & M., S. (2012). The physiological response to Trier Social Stress Test relates to subjective measures of stress during but not before or after the test. Psychoneuroendocrinology. J. Hellhammer, Diagnostic Assessment and Clinical Research Organization (DAaCRO), Science Park Trier, Max-Planck-Str. 22, D-54296 Trier, Germany. E-mail: email@example.com: Elsevier Ltd (Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1GB, United Kingdom). Retrieved from http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&PAGE=reference&D=emed10&NEWS=N&AN=2011678534