Measurement of stress response in laboratory settings – a review of studies using stress induction protocols
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Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy / Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland (Zakład Ergonomii / Department of Ergonomics)
Online publication date: 2022-05-27
Corresponding author
Sylwia Sumińska   

Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Zakład Ergonomii, ul. Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warszawa
Med Pr 2022;73(3):251–270
Stress is one of the main reasons for deterioration in mental and physical health, and it leads to a decrease in work efficiency. Providing appropriate methods of diagnosing the level of stress allows for making a reliable verification of the effectiveness of stress reduction interventions and for assessing individual differences in reactivity to stress. The aim of this study was to review the available studies that use the most common stress induction protocols in laboratory settings and measure psychophysiological reactions to stress. The review included research using the following protocols: MIST, MA, TSST, Stroop Test and PASAT, and measuring brain activity, heart activity, cortisol levels and muscle tones. The analyzes included papers available in the PubMed database, published in 2015‒2021, in which studies were conducted on healthy adults. The analysis of the available studies revealed that the protocols induced changes in the activity of the autonomic nervous system, the cardiovascular system and brain activity. Moreover, TSST is a protocol that is most often used to assess the level of stress and differences in reactivity to induced stress depending on individual differences in personality traits, and to make the comparison of specific groups of people. Measurements of induced stress are usually done by analyzing the cortisol levels in response to stress and changes in heart activity. The MIST test is a commonly used method in neuroimaging studies. The analysis of the research results has revealed that the protocols, beside inducing a typical physiological response, are associated with blunting the physiological response to stress in some people. Med Pr. 2022;73(3):251–70