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Relationship Between Psychological Stress & Oxidative Stress in victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Forlenza, Michael Joseph (2002) Relationship Between Psychological Stress & Oxidative Stress in victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Current biobehavioral models of cancer focus primarily on stress-induced failures of immune surveillance as a principle mechanism of cancer progression. However, efforts to identify specific immune mechanisms altered by stress and underlying or affecting cancer course have met with limited success. Although there is clear evidence that stress alters fundamental immune processes, it is not clear whether stress-related changes in immune system activity are of sufficient type or magnitude for cancer to develop or progress (Cohen & Rabin, 1998). Therefore, new innovative approaches are needed to determine if stress is mechanistically linked to cancer. Measuring associations between stress and intermediate endpoints mechanistically linked to carcinogenesis may further understanding of the cancer process and provide insight for intervention. These endpoints include stress-induced alterations in DNA damage and repair (Forlenza & Baum, 2001). The present research measured the urinary concentration of the mutagenic oxidative lesion 8-hydroxy-2ʹ-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) in adult victims of motor vehicle accidents (MVA) and controls. Overnight urine samples (approximately 15 hours) were collected within 1 month of the MVA and again 3 months after the accident. The primary hypothesis is that victims of MVAs will have higher concentration of urinary 8-OHdG compared to controls. Further, reported stress experience will be significantly related to urinary concentration of oxidative DNA damage products. Results showed that people in the MVA group had significantly more distressing somatic symptoms, poorer concentration, significantly more fear and significantly more intrusive thoughts than people in the control group at month 1. Further, these intrusions were related to an objective rating of their injury severity at month 1. Additionally, people in the MVA group had significantly more intrusive thoughts than people in the control group at month 3. There were no group differences in the urinary concentration of 8-OHdG 1 month or 3 months following the MVA and self-reported measures of distress were unrelated to urinary levels of 8-OHdG. Reasons for the lack of association are discussed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Forlenza, Michael Josephmjfst36@pitt.eduMJFST36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBaum, Andrewbaum@pitt.eduBAUM
Committee MemberMarsland, Annamarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Committee MemberCagguila, Anthonytonypsy@pitt.eduTONYPSY
Committee MemberColavita,
Committee MemberMatthews,
Date: 14 October 2002
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 June 2002
Approval Date: 14 October 2002
Submission Date: 10 July 2002
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: 8-OHdG; DNA damage; oxidative damage; psychosocial stress; stress
Other ID:, etd-07102002-141142
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:50
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:45


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