Alterations in morning cortisol associated with PTSD in women with breast cancer

Linda Luecken, Barbara Dausch, Vanessa Gulla, Richard Hong, Bruce E. Compas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can be a stressful experience, putting women at risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study investigated morning cortisol levels in newly diagnosed (i.e., within 6 months) breast cancer patients. Methods: Structured DSM-IV interviews determined current and past incidence of PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) in 71 women with Stage 0-3 breast cancer. Results: Significantly decreased plasma cortisol was found in women meeting current or lifetime criteria for PTSD or past diagnosis of MDD. Conclusions: These results reinforce the importance for both psychological and physiological outcomes of a clinical evaluation of both current and past psychiatric status in newly diagnosed cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-15
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Breast cancer
  • Cortisol
  • MDD
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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