Salivary Cortisol and Alpha-Amylase are Modulated by the Time and Context of Musical Performance
American Psychological Association
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Auditioning can cause considerable apprehension for musicians, typically giving rise to a wide range of physical and mental stress responses irrespective of age, amount of practice and level of experience. However, studies giving clear and replicable information on these experiences, in particular the physiological reactions to such psychosocial stress and the precise timing of that response have been limited. This study sets out to understand musicians’ endocrinological reactivity and recovery to performing in low- and high-stress auditions by focusing on the 2 endocrinological pathways: the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic adrenal medullar (SAM). Salivary cortisol (CORT) and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) samples were collected in 11 musicians (6 men, 5 women) 2 times prior to and 4 times after low- and high-stress conditions, and benchmarked against musicians’ subjective experience of anxiety. The results reveal peak CORT levels 15 min after the performance, in the high-stress condition. By contrast, the activity in sAA increased from 1 min before to after the performance, before dropping to levels below with musicians’ low-stress conditions. This study demonstrates that (a) musical performing affects both the HPA axis and the SAM system and that these responses are modulated by the time and condition of performance, and (b) sAA is an important biomarker in understanding musical performance stress.
International Journal of Stress Management;
Aufegger, L. and Wasley, D. (2017) 'Salivary Cortisol and Alpha-Amylase are Modulated by the Time and Context of Musical Performance' International Journal of Stress Management DOI 10.1037/str0000079
This article was published in International Journal of Stress Management on 24 August 2017 (online), available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/str0000079
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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