The STRESS-NL database: A resource for human acute stress studies across the Netherlands

Bonapersona, F J Born, P Bakvis, S Branje, B Elzinga, Awm Evers, M van Eysden, G Fernandez, P C Habets, C A Hartman, E J Hermans, W Meeus, H van Middendorp, S Nelemans, N Y Oei, A J Oldehinkel, K Roelofs, S R de Rooij, T Smeets*, M S TollenaarM Joëls, C H Vinkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Stress initiates a cascade of (neuro)biological, physiological, and behavioral changes, allowing us to respond to a challenging environment. The human response to acute stress can be studied in detail in controlled settings, usually in a laboratory environment. To this end, many studies employ acute stress paradigms to probe stress-related outcomes in healthy and patient populations. Though valuable, these studies in themselves often have relatively limited sample sizes. We established a data-sharing and collaborative interdisciplinary initiative, the STRESS-NL database, which combines (neuro)biological, physiological, and behavioral data across many acute stress studies in order to accelerate our understanding of the human acute stress response in health and disease (www.stressdatabase.eu). Researchers in the stress field from 12 Dutch research groups of 6 Dutch universities created a database to achieve an accurate inventory of (neuro)biological, physiological, and behavioral data from laboratory-based human studies that used acute stress tests. Currently, the STRESS-NL database consists of information on 5529 individual participants (2281 females and 3348 males, age range 6-99 years, mean age 27.7 ± 16 years) stemming from 57 experiments described in 42 independent studies. Studies often did not use the same stress paradigm; outcomes were different and measured at different time points. All studies currently included in the database assessed cortisol levels before, during and after experimental stress, but cortisol measurement will not be a strict requirement for future study inclusion. Here, we report on the creation of the STRESS-NL database and infrastructure to illustrate the potential of accumulating and combining existing data to allow meta-analytical, proof-of-principle analyses. The STRESS-NL database creates a framework that enables human stress research to take new avenues in explorative and hypothesis-driven data analyses with high statistical power. Future steps could be to incorporate new studies beyond the borders of the Netherlands; or build similar databases for experimental stress studies in rodents. In our view, there are major scientific benefits in initiating and maintaining such international efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages10
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume141
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2022

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