, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 1–5

Sex differences in sympathetic-adrenal medullary reactions induced by different stressors


  • Marianne Frankenhaeuser
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Stockholm
  • Elizabeth Dunne
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Stockholm
  • Ulf Lundberg
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Stockholm
Human Pharmacology Original Investigations

DOI: 10.1007/BF00428693

Cite this article as:
Frankenhaeuser, M., Dunne, E. & Lundberg, U. Psychopharmacology (1976) 47: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00428693


Male and female university students were exposed to two different stressors in each of two 110-min sessions, i.e., a cognitive task (color-word conflict) and repeated venipuncture. Catecholamine excretion, heart rate, and subjective reactions were measured. Control values were obtained under conditions of relaxation in the laboratory. Subjects of both sexes responded to both stressors by increased heart rate and feelings of unpleasantness and distress. The pattern of adrenaline excretion, however, differed between sexes: in males both stressors induced a significant increase, whereas in females adrenaline excretion remained on the same level under the two stress conditions as during relaxation. Noradrenaline excretion was not systematically affected by either stressor in either sex group.

Key words

Sex differences Stress Catecholamine excretion Adrenaline Noradrenaline Venipuncture Color-word conflict

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976