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Psychophysiological Indicators of Stress Reactivity in Adolescent Psychiatric Patients with Dissociative Symptomatology

Brunner, Romuald ; Müller, Carsten ; Parzer, Peter ; Resch, Franz

Psychopathology, August 2008, Vol.41(5), pp.330-335 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Psychophysiological Indicators of Stress Reactivity in Adolescent Psychiatric Patients with Dissociative Symptomatology
  • Author/Creator: Brunner, Romuald ; Müller, Carsten ; Parzer, Peter ; Resch, Franz
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Original Paper ; Dissociation ; Stress Reactivity ; Adolescents ; Psychophysiology ; Medicine
  • Is Part Of: Psychopathology, August 2008, Vol.41(5), pp.330-335
  • Description: Background: Thus far, possible neurobiological underpinnings of dissociative symptomatology have not been studied sufficiently. We studied the reactivity of the autonomous nervous system to a non-specific laboratory stressor in a clinical group of adolescents with dissociative symptomatology. Sampling and Methods: The effects of an attentional task, administered with and without noise, on heart rate, skin resistance and the level of subjective distress were studied in 2 groups of 19 and 20 adolescent psychiatric patients with high and low degrees of self-reported dissociative symptoms as measured by the Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale, respectively. Results: Patients with a high degree of dissociative symptoms demonstrated significantly larger changes in heart rate during the attentional task, while the noise had no effect on heart rate. Additional noise led to an increase in skin resistance levels and subjective distress in both groups. Conclusions: The results of the current study provide preliminary evidence that the intensity of the stress response represents a sensitivity to stress which may correlate with the exacerbation and fluctuation of dissociative symptomatology.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0254-4962 ; E-ISSN: 1423-033X ; DOI: 10.1159/000146071