The purpose of the present study was to examine Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity in social anxiety. The present study used a standardized psychosocial stress protocol (the Trier Social Stress Test; TSST; [Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K.M., Hellhammer, D.H., 1993. The 'Trier Social Stress Test'-a tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology 28, 76-81.]) with 11 higher-social-anxiety and 11 lower-social-anxiety male college students. Psychological responses and salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) reactivity and cortisol/DHEA ratio were assessed at seven different times. The results showed that there was a significantly lower cortisol responsiveness in the higher social anxiety group but there was no significant difference of DHEA responsiveness. Further analyses showed lower responses for the cortisol/DHEA ratio in the higher-social-anxiety group to the TSST. These results suggest that there may be reduced HPA axis reactivity to psychosocial stress in socially anxious people.
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