Stress is an inevitable element of everyday living. Developmental studies suggested that adolescents are more vulnerable and sensitive to the effect of stress due to their developing brains, especially in areas related to stress perception and processing. This voxel-based morphometry study examined the association between various neurobiological markers and the level of perceived stress experienced by adolescents (n = 26) and middle-aged adults (n = 26). Our findings indicated that differences existed in the relationships between perceived stress and the structural volume of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) extending to the insula and amygdala. Specifically, the levels of perceived stress and the grey matter volume of the orbitofrontal cortex, the insula, and the amygdala were positively related in adolescents but negatively related for adults. Furthermore, a significant negative correlation between perceived stress and cortisol levels was observed in adults, whereas the relationship between perceived stress and cortisol levels was not significant for adolescents. Perceived stress measurement may be better than cortisol levels in terms of reflecting the emotional states of adolescents. In sum, the relationships between perceived stress and neurobiological markers were different between adolescents and middle-aged adults and thus appeared to be age dependent. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
CitationWu, J., Tong, H., Liu, Z., Tao, J., Chen, L., Chan, C. C. H., & Lee, T. M. C. (2021). Neurobiological effects of perceived stress are different between adolescents and middle-aged adults. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 15, 846-854. doi: 10.1007/s11682-020-00294-7
- Perceived stress
- Voxel-based morphometry
- Plasma cortisol
- Orbitofrontal cortex