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Changes in the stress-response system in the course of psychotherapeutic interventions

The project deals with changes in the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HHNA) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in the course of psychotherapeutic interventions. For this purpose, the hair and saliva concentrations of the hormone cortisol (HHNA) and the saliva concentration of the enzyme alpha-amylase (ANS) are measured during an online psychotherapeutic intervention for mild to moderate depression. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the interaction of psychotherapeutically induced changes on a psychological and biological level. The project also focuses on the effects of cognitive processes and the regulation of sleep rhythm on the stress-response system.


Team members




Laufer, S., Engel, S., Knaevelsrud, C. & Schumacher, S. (2018). Cortisol and alpha-amylase assessment in psychotherapeutic intervention studies: A systematic review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 95, 235-262.