Week+6+optional+Cresswell+et+al++2005++personal+values

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Psychological Science The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01624.x 2005 16: 846 Psychological Science J. David Creswell, William T. Welch, Shelley E. Taylor, David K. Sherman, Tara L. Gruenewald and Traci Mann Affirmation of Personal Values Buffers Neuroendocrine and Psychological Stress Responses Published by: On behalf of: Association for Psychological Science can be found at: Psychological Science Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: at CALIFORNIA DIGITAL LIBRARY on July 20, 2010 pss.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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Research Report Affirmation of Personal Values Buffers Neuroendocrine and Psychological Stress Responses J. David Creswell, 1 William T. Welch, 1 Shelley E. Taylor, 1 David K. Sherman, 2 Tara L. Gruenewald, 1 and Traci Mann 1 1 University of California, Los Angeles, and 2 University of California, Santa Barbara ABSTRACT— Stress is implicated in the development and progression of a broad array of mental and physical health disorders. Theory and research on the self suggest that self-affirming activities may buffer these adverse effects. This study experimentally investigated whether affirma- tions of personal values attenuate physiological and psychological stress responses. Eighty-five participants completed either a value-affirmation task or a control task prior to participating in a laboratory stress challenge. Participants who affirmed their values had significantly lower cortisol responses to stress, compared with control participants. Dispositional self-resources (e.g., trait self- esteem and optimism) moderated the relation between value affirmation and psychological stress responses, such that participants who had high self-resources and had affirmed personal values reported the least stress. These findings suggest that reflecting on personal values can keep neuroendocrine and psychological responses to stress at low levels. Implications for research on the self, stress processes, health, and interventions are discussed. Stress is implicated in the development and progression of a broad array of pathological conditions. These include psycho- logical disorders, such as depression and anxiety (Alonso et al., 2004; La Via et al., 1996), as well as medical disorders, in- cluding coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes (McEwen & Seeman, 1999). Although not all the mechanisms connecting stress to these outcomes are known, chronic threats can affect the functioning of the body’s stress systems, namely, the sympathetic-adrenomedullary (SAM) axis and the hypo- thalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, in ways prog- nostic for or related to these disorders (McEwen, 1998).
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