Browsing Psychology by Journal
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Effects of intranasal oxytocin on the attentional bias to emotional stimuli in patients with bulimia nervosaBackground: Bulimia nervosa (BN) is characterized by binge eating and emotional dysregulation including increased negative affectivity (anger, anxiety). The aim of this study was to examine the effect of oxytocin on attentional processes towards anger in patients with BN. Method: The study design consisted of a double-blind, placebo-controlled within-subject crossover, single dose experiment. Sixty-four women (31 patients with BN and 33 healthy comparisons) completed self-reported measures to evaluate emotional difficulties and were administered a single dose of intranasal oxytocin (40IU) or placebo followed by a visual probe detection task to examine attentional orienting to angry or happy faces. Results: Patients with BN reported higher emotional dysregulation and more difficulties in controlling anger compared to the healthy comparison group. Patients with BN and the healthy women exhibited similar attentional bias to angry faces in the placebo condition. Intranasal oxytocin reduced the attentional bias towards angry faces in both the BN patients and the healthy women. Conclusions: We found that a single dose of oxytocin reduced vigilance towards angry faces in patients with BN as well as healthy women. The results showed that patients with BN are not different from healthy women in terms of vigilance towards threat.
Exploration of basal diurnal salivary cortisol profiles in middle-aged adults: Associations with sleep quality and metabolic parametersThe use of saliva samples is a practical and feasible method to explore basal diurnal cortisol profiles in free-living research. This study explores a number of psychological and physiological characteristics in relation to the observed pattern of salivary cortisol activity over a 12-h period with particular emphasis on sleep. Basal diurnal cortisol profiles were examined in a sample of 147 volunteers (mean age 46.2177.18 years). Profiles were constructed for each volunteer and explored in terms of the area under the curve (AUC) of the cortisol-awakening response with samples obtained immediately upon waking (0, 15, 30 and 45 min post waking) and at 3, 6, 9 and 12 h post waking to assess diurnal decline. Diurnal mean of cortisol was based on the mean of cortisol at time points 3, 6, 9 and 12 h post waking. Psychological measures of perceived stress and sleep were collected with concurrent biological assessment of fasting plasma glucose, insulin, blood lipids and inflammatory markers. Blunted cortisol profiles, characterised by a reduced AUC, were observed in the majority (78%) of a middle-aged sample and were associated with significantly poorer sleep quality and significantly greater waist-hip ratio (WHR). Blunted cortisol profiles were further associated with a tendency to exhibit a less favourable metabolic profile. These findings suggest that reduced cortisol secretion post waking may serve as an additional marker of psychological and biological vulnerability to adverse health outcomes in middle-aged adults.