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A longitudinal study of perceived stress and cortisol responses in an undergraduate student population from India

Batabyal, A and Bhattacharya, A and Thaker, M and Mukherjee, S (2021) A longitudinal study of perceived stress and cortisol responses in an undergraduate student population from India. In: PLoS ONE, 16 (6 June).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252579


Young adults entering college experience immense shifts in personal and professional environments. Such a potentially stressful event may trigger multiple psychological and physiological effects. In a repeated-measures longitudinal survey (N = 6 time-points) of first year cohort of residential undergraduate students in India, this study evaluates multiple psychological parameters: PSS14 (Perceived Stress Scale), K10 (distress scale) and positive mood measures, along with salivary cortisol levels. We find that compared to women, men showed significantly lower levels of salivary cortisol and also a decrease in perceived stress (PSS14) and distress (K10) with time. By contrast, women reported similar perceived stress and distress levels over time but had higher cortisol levels at the end of the academic year. Academic stress was reported by the students to be the most important stressor. This study highlights notable gender-/sex-differences in psychological and physiological stress responses and adds a valuable longitudinal dataset from the Indian undergraduate student cohort which is lacking in literature. © 2021 Batabyal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: PLoS ONE
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Authors
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2021 08:59
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/69332

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