Hormone profiles in humans experiencing military survival training

Charles A. Morgan, Sheila Wang, John Mason, Steven M. Southwick, Patrick Fox, Gary Hazlett, Dennis S. Charney, Gary Greenfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical models of the human response to intense, acute stress have been limited to laboratory settings or cross sectional characterizations. As a result, data about the sensitivity of the human neuroendocrine activation to realistic stressors of varying magnitudes are limited. The U.S. Army survival course offers a unique opportunity to examine, in a controlled manner, the human response to acute, realistic, military stress. Methods: Salivary data were collected in 109 subjects at baseline during four stress exposure time points and at recovery. Serum data was collected at baseline and recovery in 72 subjects and at baseline and during stress exposure in a subgroup of subjects (n = 21). Results: Cortisol significantly increased during the captivity experience and was greatest after subjects’ exposure to interrogations. Cortisol remained significantly elevated at recovery. Testosterone was significantly reduced within 12 hours of captivity. Reductions of both total and free T4 and of total and free T3 were observed, as were increases in thyrotropin. Conclusions: The stress of military survival training produced dramatic alterations in cortisol, percent jree cortisol, testosterone, and thyroid indices. Different types of stressors had varying effects on the neuroendocrine indices. The degree of neuroendocrine changes observed may have significant implications for subsequent responses to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Science of Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationStress and the Brain
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781317970972
ISBN (Print)0815337434, 9780815337522
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortisol
  • Military stress
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Testosterone
  • Thyroid


Dive into the research topics of 'Hormone profiles in humans experiencing military survival training'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this