Stress Response Patterns and Health

Human life is characterized by repeated acute stress experiences. Biological stress responses respond in different ways to repeated stress exposures, some of which can be considered adaptive while others might be maladaptive. In our research focus "Stress Response Patterns and Health" we address three important questions:

  1. How do different biological systems respond to repeated acute stress?
  2. Which psychological processes determine or moderate adaptation of biological stress response systems?
  3. What are the long-term health effects of specific stress response patterns? 


Increased as well as prolonged physiological stress reactions constitute an antecedent of stress-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. Thereby the strength of physiological stress reactions underlies various internal and external influences. Within the scope of the study termed COST, we investigated the protective effect of individual coping strategies against increased or prolonged endocrine stress reactions.

The main focus of this study involved a…

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In the last decades, research has increased our knowledge about the role of psychosocial stress as antecedent for various diseases. Adding to the classical approach of investigating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), inflammation as a mediator between stress and disease, was introduced and discussed. Moreover, research showed that the physiological response to acute and recurrent psychosocial stress is, among others, moderated by psychological…

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There is evidence that acute stress can influence cognitive performance in some areas, but findings are inconsistent. Here, the impact of acute social stress on response inhibition, visual attention and divergent thinking is investigated experimentally and linked to biological markers of the stress reaction like heart rate, saliva alpha amylase and cortisol.

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