PERCEPTION OF ACADEMIC EXAMINATION STRESS: EFFECTS ON SERUM LEPTIN, CORTISOL, APPETITE AND PERFORMANCE
AbstractBackground: Examination stress is a psychological stress that activate hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenocortical (HPA) axis to increase circulating levels of glucocorticoids. The fat derivedhormone leptin is also released in response to stress-inducing condition. To workout the role ofleptin and cortisol in response to perceived levels of examination stress and their effects onacademic performance. The present study was designed to monitor the relationship of self reportedperceived levels of examination stress on serum levels of cortisol and leptin in female studentsgoing to appear in university examination. Methods: Fifty-six female undergraduate studentsparticipated in the study. Examination stress, appetite levels were assessed by a questionnaire andblood samples were collected one hour before appearing in the examination. Performance wasevaluated from the marks obtained in that particular examination. Results: Serum cortisol levelsincreased with an increase in the intensity of perceived examination stress. Serum leptin levelsincreased only in the group under moderate stress while increases in mild and severe stress groupwere not significant. Mild to moderate stress enhanced performance but severe stress decreased it.Conclusions: The present study shows an inverted U-shaped relationship between self reporteddifferent levels of perceived examination stress and academic performance.Keywords: Academic Stress, Cortisol, Leptin, Appetite, Performance
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