Depersonalization experiences in undergraduates are related to heightened stress cortisol responses

Timo Giesbrecht, Tom Smeets, Harald Merckelbach, Marko Jelicic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between dissociative tendencies, as measured with the Dissociative Experiences Scale and its amnesia, absorption/imaginative involvement, and depersonalization/derealization subscales, and HPA axis functioning was studied in 2 samples of undergraduate students (N = 58 and 67). Acute stress was induced by means of the Trier Social Stress Test. Subjective and physiological stress (i.e., cortisol) responses were measured. Individuals high on the depersonalization/derealization subscale of the Dissociative Experiences Scale exhibited more pronounced cortisol responses, while individuals high on the absorption subscale showed attenuated responses. Interestingly, subjective stress experiences, as indicated by the Tension-Anxiety subscale of the Profile of Mood States, were positively related to trait dissociation. The present findings illustrate how various types of dissociation (i.e., depersonalization/derealization, absorption) are differentially related to cortisol stress responses.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)282-287
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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