Nature, correlates, and consequences of stress-related biological reactivity and regulation in Army nurses during combat casualty simulation

Leigh K. McGraw, Dorothée Out, Jon J. Hammermeister, Carl J. Ohlson, Michael A. Pickering, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the nature, concomitants, and consequences of stress-related biological reactivity and regulation among Army nurses. Saliva was collected, heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) recorded from 38 Army nurses (74% female; mean age 28.5 years [SD = 6.5]) before, during, and after participation in the Combat Casualty Stress Scenario (CCSS). Saliva was assayed for cortisol and alpha-amylase (sAA). The CCSS simulates emergency combat rescue, employing two simulated combat casualties, aversive body odors, recorded battlefield sounds, and smoke in a low light environment. Participants locate and conduct preliminary assessments of the simulated patients, triage based on injury severity, initiate treatment, and coordinate medical evacuation by radio. Results revealed large magnitude increases in cortisol, sAA, HR, systolic BP and diastolic BP in response to the CCSS, followed by recovery to baseline levels 30. min after the task for all physiological parameters except cortisol. Age, gender, perceived difficulty of the CCSS, and previous nursing experience were associated with individual differences in the magnitude of the physiological responses. Lower levels of performance related to triage and treatment were associated with higher levels of reactivity and slower recovery for some of the physiological measures. The findings raise important questions regarding the utility of integrating measures of the psychobiology of the stress response into training programs designed to prepare first responders to handle highly complex and chaotic rescue situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Nurses
Blood Pressure
Hydrocortisone
Triage
Saliva
Heart Rate
alpha-Amylases
Radio
Individuality
Smoke
Nursing
Emergencies
Education
Light
Wounds and Injuries
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Age
  • Alpha-amylase
  • Army nurses
  • Blood pressure
  • Combat casualty stress task
  • Gender
  • Heart rate
  • Salivary cortisol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems

Cite this

Nature, correlates, and consequences of stress-related biological reactivity and regulation in Army nurses during combat casualty simulation. / McGraw, Leigh K.; Out, Dorothée; Hammermeister, Jon J.; Ohlson, Carl J.; Pickering, Michael A.; Granger, Douglas A.

In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 38, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 135-144.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McGraw, Leigh K. ; Out, Dorothée ; Hammermeister, Jon J. ; Ohlson, Carl J. ; Pickering, Michael A. ; Granger, Douglas A. / Nature, correlates, and consequences of stress-related biological reactivity and regulation in Army nurses during combat casualty simulation. In: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 ; Vol. 38, No. 1. pp. 135-144.
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