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Psychological and Sociodemographic Variables related to Cortisol in Hair in Spanish Healthy Population

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 June 2020

Laura Arco García*
Gabinete Crecer Juntos (Spain)
Raquel González Pérez
Universidad de Granada (Spain)
Alejandra Henares Extremera
TALENTUM Altas Capacidades Intelectuales (Spain)
María Ángeles García León
Universidad de Granada (Spain)
María Isabel Peralta-Ramírez
Universidad de Granada (Spain)
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laura Arco García. Mind, Brain and Behaviour Research Center (CIMCYC). Campus de Cartuja S/N, 18071 Granada. Cabinet Crecer Juntos. Granada (Spain). E-mail:


Some recent researches have shown the important role of hair cortisol as a retrospective biomarker of chronic stress. The aim of this research was to investigate the relationship between hair cortisol levels and sociodemographic and psychological variables, such as perceived stress levels and psychopathological symptoms on a Spanish population. The sample consisted of 347 healthy people, 230 women and 117 men, with an average age of 33.39 years (SD = 12.63). Hair cortisol levels were measured by obtaining a hair sample. In addition, a psychological assessment composed by: Analogic-Visual Stress Scale, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Symptom Checklist 90 Revised (SCL–90–R) and the assessment of vital stressful events suffered, was carried out. The mean cortisol level was 108.93 pg/mg (SD = 66.43) in men, and 120.38 pg/mg (SD = 87.26) in women. The linear hierarchical regression showed that Analogic-Visual Stress Scale and perceived stress levels were related with higher hair cortisol levels (R2 = .032; t = 2.21; p = .029). Due to the relationship between daily stress levels, Analogic-Visual Stress Scale, anxiety sub-scale of SCL 90–R and perceived stress levels with hair cortisol levels, we conclude that there is a relation between perceived yourself stressed and the physiological levels.

Research Article
© Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid 2020

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This work has been economically supported by the “PSI2015–63494–P” I+D Project of The Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and FEDER- Dr. María Isabel Peralta-Ramírez received the funding.


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