Title

Posttraumatic stress symptoms and salivary cortisol levels

Document Type

Article

Department

Brain and Mind Institute

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the relationship between posttraumatic stress symptoms and salivary cortisol levels after a severe ice storm.

METHOD: Posttraumatic stress symptoms (Impact of Event Scale scores) and salivary cortisol levels were determined in 115 victims of an ice storm and in 27 healthy comparison subjects 1 month and approximately 1 year after the ice storm.

RESULTS: One month after the storm, Impact of Event Scale scores for the victims (mean=20.31, SD=15.23) exceeded those of the comparison subjects (mean=5.30, SD=9.78) but were reduced approximately 1 year later (mean=14.01, SD=13.68). A quadratic relation was found to exist between Impact of Event Scale scores and cortisol levels.

CONCLUSIONS: One month after the storm, cortisol levels were found to be elevated among the victims but were diminished among those with the highest Impact of Event Scale scores. This relationship was found not to exist approximately 1 year later.

Comments

This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication

The American Journal of Psychiatry

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