Publications by authors named "Sarah C Sturmbauer"

2 Publications

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The Stress and Adversity Inventory for Adults (Adult STRAIN) in German: An overview and initial validation.

PLoS One 2019 9;14(5):e0216419. Epub 2019 May 9.

Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States of America.

Life stress is a key determinant of poor mental and physical health, but until recently no instrument existed for efficiently assessing cumulative stress exposure and severity across the entire lifespan. The Stress and Adversity Inventory (STRAIN) is an online, interview-based stress assessment system that was developed to address this need. We examined the concurrent, predictive, and discriminant validity of a German translation of the STRAIN by administering the instrument, along with several other measures of stress and health, to 298 adults (81 men, 217 women, Mage = 30.3 years). The German STRAIN demonstrated excellent concurrent validity, as evidenced by associations with other instruments assessing early adversity (|rs|≥.62, ps≤.001). It also correlated with instruments assessing recent life event exposure in adulthood (|rs|≥.48, ps≤.001), as well as recent perceived stress (|rs|≥ .25, ps≤.001) and recent chronic stress levels (|rs|≥ .19, ps≤.001). Additionally, the German STRAIN showed strong predictive validity in relation to anxiety symptoms (|rs|≥ .22, ps≤.001) and depressive symptoms (|rs|≥ .33, ps≤.001). Finally, the German STRAIN showed good discriminant validity, with lifetime stressor count being unrelated to personality features like neuroticism. These results demonstrate that the German version of the STRAIN is a valid tool for assessing lifetime stress exposure and severity. Additional research is needed to examine how the German STRAIN predicts psychological and biological stress reactivity and physical health outcomes.
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January 2020

Higher trait reappraisal predicts stronger HPA axis habituation to repeated stress.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2019 03 23;101:12-18. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

Department of Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Undergoing stress can be advantageous when it leads to adaptation and growth; however, failure of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to habituate (i.e., nonhabituation) involves continuing to become highly activated in response to repeated exposure of the same stimulus and is considered maladaptive. Although 50-75% of individuals assessed in a laboratory exhibit adaptive habituation to repeated stress, variability in habituation suggests psychological processes used in response to stress may play a role, such as emotion regulation (ER). Nonetheless, no research to date has investigated whether ER strategies affect HPA axis habituation. We investigated whether tendency to use two ER strategies, reappraisal and suppression, influenced HPA axis habituation among 84 healthy young adults (60.7% female; M = 24.8 years, SD = 6.0) exposed to a standardized experimental stress paradigm on two consecutive days. HPA axis stress responses were assessed using salivary cortisol concentrations. We also examined whether non-manipulated state ER strategies (i.e., those used by the participant during and following the stressor on the first day) modulated HPA axis habituation over and above trait-use in a subsample (N = 60). Trait, but not state, reappraisal was associated with stronger HPA axis habituation. Neither trait nor state suppression were significantly associated with HPA axis habituation. These findings expand our current understanding of how ER can affect stress-related health outcomes and suggest habitual reappraisal plays an important role in adaption of the HPA axis to stress.
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March 2019