Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
Distinct gender differences exist in the incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder in the United States population. Currently, the direct biological mechanisms involved in the development of PTSD have not been elucidated. However, many studies indicate a dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) as a contributing factor in the development of PTSD. This study investigated performance and endocrine correlates of PTSD in 38 females without PTSD, 14 females with PTSD, 32 males without PTSD and 5 males with PTSD. We examined the differences between basal cortisol concentrations, as well as cortisol reactivity to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). In addition, participant performance was measured during the TSST. We administered the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale and the Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale to investigate the relationship between math and performance anxiety and performance. We did not find significant differences in cortisol concentrations between groups. We found a significant effect of time when investigating subjective stress levels. We also found a significant effect of sex and PTSD status on the AMAS and an effect of PTSD on the LSAS. Our data suggest that the anxiety experienced in individuals with PTSD generalizes across domains but does affect performance. It may be that individuals without PTSD symptoms provide anxiety ratings that better predict their performance on the TSST tasks, either because their pre-existing levels of anxiety in these domains directly affect their performance or because they more accurately assess their performance and rate their anxiety in these domains accordingly.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Pierce, Meghan E., "The Neuroendocrine and Performance Correlates of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Males and Females" (2015). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2413.
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