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. 2016 Mar 1;155:95-101.
doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.12.003. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

Sleep Problems Predict Cortisol Reactivity to Stress in Urban Adolescents

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Sleep Problems Predict Cortisol Reactivity to Stress in Urban Adolescents

Sylvie Mrug et al. Physiol Behav. .

Abstract

This study examined the role of sleep problems and sleep duration on stress-related HPA axis reactivity among urban, low income adolescents. A total of 84 adolescents (M age 13.36 years; 50% male; 95% African American) and their parents provided information on adolescents' sleep problems and sleep quantity. Adolescents completed a standardized social stress test in the laboratory (the Trier Social Stress Test; TSST). Saliva samples collected before and after the TSST yielded measures of cortisol pre-test, 15 min post-test, and 55 min post-test, as well as overall cortisol secretion and its increase (AUCG and AUCI). More sleep problems and longer sleep duration predicted higher cortisol reactivity to the TSST, particularly among females. Self-reports of sleep were more consistently related to stress-related cortisol reactivity than parent reports. Sleep problems and longer sleep duration may place adolescents at risk for HPA axis hyper-reactivity to stress, contributing to academic, behavioral and health problems.

Keywords: Adolescence; Cortisol; Sleep; Stress reactivity.

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