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April 1962

Emotional and Adrenal Cortical Responses to a New Experience: Effect of Social Environment

Author Affiliations

Adult Psychiatry Branch, Clinical Investigations National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Bethesda, Md. and Department of Neuroendocrinology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C.
Present addresses: Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Howard University Medical College, Washington, D.C. (Dr. Fishman); Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif. (Drs. Hamburg and Handlon); Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston (Dr. Sachar).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(4):271-278. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710220013002

Recent human studies have indicated that elevated adrenocortical hormone levels may occur in novel, ambiguous situations.1,2 In 2 recent reports, we have pursued these observations by studying catecholamine and corticosteroid excretion in normal volunteers during the first week of hospitalization in a research unit.3,4 In 6 such groups we have found a tendency toward hormone elevation on admission day followed by a decline during the first week of hospitalization. In several groups, the difference in 17-hydroxycorticosteroid (17-OHCS) excretion between admission day and the end of the first week was quite substantial. The decline in urinary 17-OHCS was an orderly one, proceeding gradually throughout the week. This suggests that novel, ambiguous situations such as hospital admission may be used as an experimental tool in analyzing physiological concomitants of psychological stress. Moreover, such responses present a factor worthy of consideration in interpreting laboratory

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