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New Paper: Distraction coping predicts better cortisol recovery after acute psychosocial stress

In this new paper, published in Biological Psychology, and first authored by Johanna Janson, M.Sc., we studied whether different post-stress state coping strategies were predictive of differential trajectories of cortisol response and recovery.

Principal component analyses of post-stress state coping using the SVF 42-ak questionnaire  (Erdmann & Janke, 2008) revealed the three factors „denial coping“ (e.g., escape, avoidance), „distraction coping“ (e.g., relaxation, need for social support), and „stressor-devaluation/self-comforting“ (e.g., minimization, down-playing).

Hierarchical Linear Modeling then showed that coping strategies were  differentially related with cortisol peak and recovery: While no associations between coping manifestations and cortisol reactivity measures, as expressed by slope and acceleration from baseline to peak, were found, we observed that higher levels of denial coping were associated with higher peak levels of salivary cortisol ten minutes after stress exposure. In addition, higher levels of distraction coping predicted a steeper as well as straighter cortisol decline after peak levels of salivary cortisol up to 60 min after stress.

This paper is available for free download until 9/20/2017.