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Victims of rape show increased cortisol responses to trauma reminders: A study in individuals with war- and torture-related PTSD

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • Hannah Gola
  • Harald Engler
  • Maggie Schauer
  • Hannah Adenauer
  • Carsten Riether
  • Stephan Kolassa
  • Thomas Elbert
  • Iris-Tatjana Kolassa
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychoneuroendocrinology
Issue number2
Volume37
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)213-220
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Summary: Studies investigating cortisol responses to trauma-related stressors in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have yielded inconsistent results, demonstrating that cortisol responses were enhanced or unaffected when confronted with trauma reminders. This study investigated the effect of the type of trauma experienced on both salivary and plasma cortisol responses during confrontation with trauma-related material. Participants were 30 survivors of war and torture, with and without rape among the traumatic events experienced. Participants of both groups (raped vs. non-raped) fulfilled DSM-IV criteria of PTSD. Plasma and salivary cortisol levels were measured at three time points during a standardized clinical interview: once before and twice after assessing individual traumatic experiences. Results show that groups did not differ in basal plasma and salivary cortisol levels. However, differential salivary cortisol responses were observed in PTSD patients who had been raped compared to those who had not been raped (p