The Role of Stress in Interpreting the Dexamethasone Suppression Test
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Stress has been implicated as a major confounding factor in the interpretation of Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST) results. This study was designed to examine the effects of stress on DST results. Fifty patients with high levels of acute, chronic, and environmental stress participated in the study. Each patient was given a comprehensive psychiatric and psychological assessment, a routine administration of dexamethasone, and blood tests of cortisol values. The results indicate that the three measures of stress do not appear to affect levels of cortisol suppression, however, all three measures of stress predicted depression. As expected, DST cortisol levels were related to depression. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the associations among stress, depression and DST results.
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