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  Specific reduction in cortisol stress reactivity after social but not attention-based mental training

Engert, V., Kok, B. E., Papassotiriou, I., Chrousos, G. P., & Singer, T. (2017). Specific reduction in cortisol stress reactivity after social but not attention-based mental training. Science Advances, 3(10): e1700495. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700495.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-1148-D Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-8019-2
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Engert, Veronika1, Author              
Kok, Bethany E.1, Author              
Papassotiriou, Iannis2, Author
Chrousos, George P.3, Author
Singer, Tania1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, escidoc:634552              
2Department of Clinical Biochemistry, “Aghia Sophia” Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece, escidoc:persistent22              
3First Department of Pediatrics, “Aghia Sophia” Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece, escidoc:persistent22              

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 Abstract: sychosocial stress is a public health burden in modern societies. Chronic stress – induced disease processes are, in large part, mediated via the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic- adrenal-medullary system. We asked whether the contemplative mental training of differen t practice types targeting attentional, socio-affective (for example, compassion), or socio-cognitive abilities (for example, perspective-taking) in the context of a 9-month longitudinal training study offers an effective means for psychosocial stress reduction. Using a multimethod approach including subjective, endocrine, autonomic, and immune markers and testing 313 participants in a standardized psychosoc ial laboratory stressor, we show that all three practice types markedly reduced self-reported stress reactivity in healthy participants. However, only the training of intersubjective skills via socio- affective and socio-cognitive routes attenuated the physiological stress response, specifically the secretion of the HPA axis end-product cortisol, by up to 51%. The assessed autonomic and innate immune markers were not influenced by any practice type. Mental training focused on present-moment attention and interoceptive awareness as im- plemented in many mindfulness-based intervention programs was thus limited to stress reduction on the level of self-report. However, its effectivenes s was equal to that of intersubjective practice types in boosting the association between subjective and endocrine stress markers. Our results reveal a broadly accessible low-cost approach to acquiring psychosocial stress resilience. Short daily intersubjective practice may be a promising method for mini- mizing the incidence of chronic social stress – related disease, thereby reducing individual suffering and relieving a substantial financial burden on society.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-08-242017-10-04
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700495
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Title: Science Advances
  Other : Sci. Adv.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Washington : AAAS
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 3 (10) Sequence Number: e1700495 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2375-2548
CoNE: http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2375-2548