Several protocols have been developed for inducing acute stress in laboratory settings. Still, effectively eliciting stress in a neuroimaging environment remains challenging. Here, we describe the evaluation of a combined physical and psychosocial stress protocol (n = 42). The imaging Maastricht Acute Stress Test (iMAST) consists of a 5-min preparation phase and a 10-min acute stress phase, with alternating trials of cold pressor stress generated through an advanced thermal stimulator and mental arithmetic challenges along with social-evaluative pressure (i.e., negative feedback). Results demonstrate that participants displayed meaningful subjective stress responses, as well as significant increases in salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol levels. Our data show that the iMAST may prove to be a potent alternative to existing imaging stress paradigms to explore poststress neuronal changes and brain determinants of resilience.
View graph of relations
- ACTIVATION, ACUTE PSYCHOSOCIAL STRESS, COLD-PRESSOR TEST, CORTISOL RESPONSES, Cortisol, Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), GENDER-DIFFERENCE, HUMANS, Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST), PHYSIOLOGICAL-RESPONSE, PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS, SALIVARY ALPHA-AMYLASE, SEX-DIFFERENCES, Stress reactivity, Stress tasks