Table of Contents
Journal of Hormones
Volume 2015, Article ID 631250, 5 pages
Research Article

Psychophysiological Stress Reactivity Relationships across the Menstrual Cycle

1Lustyk Laboratory, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119, USA
2Phoenix VA Health Care System, Topaz Clinic, 650 East Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012, USA
3University of Washington, NE 45th Street and 17th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105, USA

Received 21 August 2015; Revised 1 December 2015; Accepted 2 December 2015

Academic Editor: Elisabetta Baldi

Copyright © 2015 Karen C. Olson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While evidence suggests that women exhibit psychophysiological differences in stress reactivity across the menstrual cycle, the relationships among psychological and physiological stress reactivity states are not well understood. Healthy, normally cycling women () participated in two counterbalanced laboratory sessions during the follicular and luteal phases where heart rate and subjective stress were assessed in response to stressors. There were no differences in the magnitudes of psychophysiological stress responses across the cycle. Psychological and physiological states were largely unrelated in the follicular phase but interrelationships were found in the luteal phase and these relationships were influenced by autonomic perception and trait anxiety. For women with high trait anxiety, autonomic perception appeared to buffer psychological and physiological stress reactivity during the luteal phase, suggesting that autonomic perception may be a protective factor for more anxious women during times of acute stress.