Hair cortisol concentration is unaffected by basic military training, but related to sociodemographic and environmental factors

Maria Boesch, Sandra Sefidan, Hubert Annen, Ulrike Ehlert, Lilian Roos, Stan Van Uum, Evan Russell, Gideon Koren, Roberto La Marca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The analysis of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) is a promising new biomarker for retrospective measurement of chronic stress. The effect of basic military training (BMT) on chronic stress has not yet been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of 10-week BMT on HCC, while further exploring the role of known and novel covariates. Young healthy male recruits of the Swiss Army participated twice, 10 weeks apart, in data collection (1st examination: n=177; 2nd examination: n=105). On two occasions, we assessed HCC, perceived stress and different candidate variables that may affect HCC (e.g. socioeconomic status, meteorological data). Military training increased perceived stress from the first to the second examination, but did not affect HCC. In line with this, there was no correlation between HCC and perceived stress ratings. This could be interpreted as a missing influence of mainly physical stress (e.g. exercise) on HCC. In contrast, significant correlations were found between HCC and ambient temperature, humidity and education. Future studies should control for meteorological data and educational status when examining HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalStress
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Chronic stress
  • Education
  • Hair cortisol
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis
  • Meteorological data
  • Sweating

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