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Controllable and uncontrollable stress in humans: alterations in mood and neuroendocrine and psychophysiological function
Am J Psychiatry 1987;144:1419-1425.
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Abstract

The authors exposed 10 healthy human volunteers to the stress of loud (100 dB) noise under controllable and uncontrollable conditions on two separate days. Subjects reported higher self-ratings of helplessness, lack of control, tension, stress, unhappiness, anxiety, and depression; had greater hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function as measured by elevations in plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone; and had higher levels of sympathetic nervous system and electrodermal activity after the uncontrollable stress condition than after exposure to controllable stress. Thus, lack of control over even a mildly aversive stimulus can produce alterations in mood as well as neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system changes in healthy subjects.

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