Cortisol secretion in adolescents with major depressive disorder

R. Dahl, J. Puig‐Antich, N. Ryan, B. Nelson, H. Novacenko, J. Twomey, D. Williamson, R. Goetz, P. J. Ambrosini

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57 Scopus citations


Plasma cortisol concentrations were determined every 20 min for 24 h, in a nonstressful environment, among 48 rigorously assessed, mostly outpatient, drug‐free adolescent subjects during an episode of major depression (MDD) and among 40 normal adolescent subjects. There were no significant differences in the 24‐h mean, peak, or nadir, or the time of the nocturnal rise, in plasma cortisol in the 2 groups. Analyses of different subgroups of MDD adolescents according to suicidality, severity of depression, separation anxiety, psychotic subtype, endogenicity, duration of episode, and sex also revealed no significant group differences. Only one adolescent (with MDD) was identified clearly as a hypersecretor of cortisol. These results indicate that abnormalities of spontaneous cortisol secretion are an unusual finding among adolescents with major depression when studied in a nonstressful environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1989


  • adolescence
  • cortisol
  • depression
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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