von Dawans, B., Kirschbaum, C. & Heinrichs, M. (2011). The Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (TSST-G): A new research tool for controlled simultaneous social stress exposure in a group format. Psychoneuroendocrinology,36(4), 514-522. United Kingdom: Pergamon Press. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.08.004
Psychological stress is an ubiquitous challenge across human cultures affecting mental and physical health. Recent evidence indicates that performance tasks combining elements of socio-evaluative threat and uncontrollability elicit reliable stress responses. The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) is the most frequently used psychological protocol in stress research; however, to date it has only been available in a single-subject version. In particular, there is an increasing need in several emerging research fields such as stress research or social neurosciences for a standardized research tool to expose relatively large groups of subjects to controlled simultaneous stress. In search of a laboratory stressor that allows simultaneous stress exposure in a group format, we exposed a total of 25 healthy male participants to the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (TSST-G; public speaking and mental arithmetic tasks in front of a panel of two evaluators in groups of six participants) and a specific control condition. Results showed that the TSST-G induced significant increases in cortisol, heart rate, and psychological stress responses. The TSST-G provides a novel, effective, and economical protocol for experimental paradigms requiring simultaneous stress induction in multiple participants.
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