Concurrent and prospective associations between HPA axis activity and depression symptoms in newlywed women

Fiona Ge, Paula R. Pietromonaco, Casey J. DeBuse, Sally I. Powers, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We investigated the extent to which individual differences in activity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) are associated with depressive symptoms among newlywed couples. Participants were 218 couples (M age 28.4 years; 94% White) who provided 5 saliva samples (later assayed for cortisol and DHEA-S) before and after participation in a discussion of a major area of disagreement in their relationship. Depressive symptoms were assessed initially, and approximately 19- and 37-months later. Results revealed an interactive effect suggesting that concordant levels of cortisol and DHEA-S (either both high or both low) were concurrently and prospectively associated with higher depression scores. Interestingly, this interactive effect was observed for wives only – not for husbands. These observations underscore contemporary theoretical assumptions that the expression of the association between HPA activity and depression is dependent on factors related to the interaction between characteristics of the person and features of the social environment, and moderated by co-occurring variation in endocrine milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Cortisol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate
  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Marital interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Concurrent and prospective associations between HPA axis activity and depression symptoms in newlywed women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this