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Victims of War: Dehydroepiandrosterone Concentrations in Hair and Their Associations with Trauma Sequelae in Palestinian Adolescents Living in the West Bank

1
Faculty of Psychology, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
2
Faculty of Public Health, Al-Quds University, P.O. Box 4006, 90612 Abu Dees, West Bank, Palestine
3
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, 8410501 Beer-Sheva, Israel
4
Faculty of Social Work, Ashkelon Academic College, 7821100 Ashkelon, Israel
5
Department of Medical Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9020020
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
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PDF [1069 KB, uploaded 24 January 2019]
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Abstract

Due to its anti-glucocorticoid properties, the steroid hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) might play a role for coping with traumatic stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The majority of studies report elevated DHEA secretion and decreased cortisol/DHEA ratio associated with traumatic stress, however, contrasting results have also been published. One reason for this heterogeneity might be that in past studies, DHEA has been measured in plasma or saliva samples reflecting acute hormone levels. In comparison, the current study assessed the hair levels of DHEA and cortisol as long-term markers along with self-reported data on psychopathology and coping in 92 female adolescents aged 11–16 from the West Bank affected by the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Results showed that trauma-exposed individuals had significantly higher DHEA levels (p = 0.013) and lower cortisol/DHEA ratios (p = 0.036) than participants from the non-trauma group. Furthermore, DHEA and cortisol/DHEA ratio emerged as associated with trauma load and timing, but not with coping. By applying the novel method of DHEA analysis from hair samples, this study adds to the growing literature on the interplay of DHEA, cortisol, traumatic stress and coping, and provides valuable starting points for further research. View Full-Text
Keywords: DHEA; cortisol; hair; traumatic stress; posttraumatic stress disorder; violent conflict; coping DHEA; cortisol; hair; traumatic stress; posttraumatic stress disorder; violent conflict; coping
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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 (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.17605/OSF.IO/MV54C
    Link: https://osf.io/mv54c/
    Description: Victims of War: DHEA concentrations in hair and their associations with trauma sequelae in Palestinian adolescents living in the West Bank
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Schindler, L.; Shaheen, M.; Saar-Ashkenazy, R.; Bani Odeh, K.; Sass, S.-H.; Friedman, A.; Kirschbaum, C. Victims of War: Dehydroepiandrosterone Concentrations in Hair and Their Associations with Trauma Sequelae in Palestinian Adolescents Living in the West Bank. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 20.

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