Aims:Abnormal physiological stress reactivity is increasingly investigated as a vulnerability marker for various physical and psychological health problems. However, studies are inconsistent in taking into account potential covariates that may influence the developing stress system. We systematically tested determinants (individual, developmental, environmental and substance use-related) of physiological and perceived physiological stress reactivity. We also examined the relation between physiological and perceived physiological stress reactivity.Method:In a stratified sample of 363 children (7-12 years) and 344 adolescents (13-20 years) from the general population, we examined cortisol, heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia and perceived physiological stress reactivity to a psychosocial stress procedure.Results:Using multivariate linear regression models, we found that individual, developmental, environmental and substance use-related factors were related to each of the stress response indices. These determinant factors were different for each of the stress reactivity indices, and different in children versus adolescents. Perceived physiological stress reactivity predicted cortisol reactivity in adolescents only. All other relations between perceived physiological and physiological stress reactivity were not significant.Conclusions:As physiological stress variables are often examined as vulnerability markers for the development of health problems, we maintain that it is essential that future studies take into consideration factors that may account for found relations. Our study provides an overview and indication of which variables should be considered in the investigation of the relation between physiological stress indices and illness.

dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0061724, hdl.handle.net/1765/67075
PLoS ONE
Department of Psychiatry

Evans, B.E, Greaves-Lord, K, Euser, A.S, Tulen, J.H.M, Franken, I.H.A, & Huizink, A.C. (2013). Determinants of Physiological and Perceived Physiological Stress Reactivity in Children and Adolescents. PLoS ONE, 8(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061724