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Stress Science Papers
of the Year Contest

CONSIDER NOMINATING A PAPER FOR THE 2024 STRESS PAPER OF THE YEAR AWARD! 

Nominations and Review: Nominations will be accepted through March of 2025 for papers that were accepted for publication in 2024. You can nominate papers here.

Nominated papers are divided into three paper categories:  

  1. Basic research/animal models 

  2. Empirical human/clinical research 

  3. New methods/theory/review 

 

Several of the directors of the stress network will score each of the papers independently across three criteria: 1) quality and design, 2) novelty, and 3) potential impact on the field. These scores are averaged for a total score. When there are ties in a category, other members of the stress network will read and score papers to determine the final selection. In the cases where a director has a conflict of interest (e.g., is close collaborator or co-author of a nominated paper), directors will recuse themselves from the review process for that paper. 

Computing Components of Everyday Stress Responses: Exploring Conceptual Challenges and New Opportunities

FIRST PLACE FOR THEORY/MEASUREMENT

 

Smyth and colleagues (2023) offer a useful discussion of strategies, challenges, implications, and limitations when designing a within-persons study of stress-response dynamics in everyday life. They distinguish between reactivity, recovery, and pileup before moving into critical issues such as defining a baseline in everyday life, operationalizing reactivity, recovery, and pileup, in addition to discussing data and design issues that researchers should consider.

 

Smyth, J. M., Zawadzki, M. J., Marcusson-Clavertz, D., Scott, S. B., Johnson, J. A., Kim, J., Toledo, M. J., Stawski, R. S., Sliwinski, M. J., & Almeida, D. M. (2023). Computing Components of Everyday Stress Responses: Exploring Conceptual Challenges and New Opportunities. Perspectives on psychological science,18(1), 110–124. https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916221082108

Network stressors, personal stressors, and ambulatory blood pressure in African-American women—Does superwoman schema play a role?

FIRST PLACE FOR HUMAN EMPIRICAL/CLINICAL

Lewis and colleagues (2023) distinguished between personal stressors and network stressors (i.e., those having to do with family members and friends) in predicting elevated blood pressure in African-American women, finding that network stressors were predictive, whereas personal stressors were not. These findings highlight the interdependence among communities and suggest that mitigating the heightened rates of blood pressure (BP) and hypertension among African-American women will likely require broader systemic and community-level change.

 

Lewis, T. T., Parker, R., Murden, R., Spikes, T., Erving, C., McKinnon, I. I., Van Dyke, M. E., Booker, B., Quyummi, A., Vaccarino, V., & Moore, R. H. (2023). Network stressors, personal stressors, and ambulatory blood pressure in African-American women—Does superwoman schema play a role? Health Psychology, 42(7), 485–495. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0001309

Cellular allostatic load is linked to increased energy expenditure and accelerated biological aging

FIRST PLACE FOR BASIC SCIENCE
 

Bobba-Alves and colleagues (2023) examined the impact of chronic stress on bioenergetics and cellular aging processes. By longitudinally profiling three human fibroblast lines, the authors identified hypermetabolism as a central manifestation of allostatic load. Chronic glucocorticoid exposure increased cellular energy expenditure by 60%, emphasizing the extra energetic cost of chronic stress at the cellular level. In turn, this stress-induced hypermetabolism was linked with an accelerated aging phenotype (including epigenetic and telomere aging).

 

Bobba-Alves, N., Sturm, G., Lin, J., Ware, S. A., Karan, K. R., Monzel, A. S., Bris, C., Procaccio, V., Lenaers, G., Higgins-Chen, A., Levine, M., Horvath, S., Santhanam, B. S., Kaufman, B. A., Hirano, M., Epel, E., & Picard, M. (2023). Cellular allostatic load is linked to increased energy expenditure and accelerated biological aging. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 155, 106322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2023.106322

Blunted Glucocorticoid Responsiveness to Stress Causes Behavioral and Biological Alterations That Lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Vulnerability
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BASIC SCIENCE

Monari et al. (2023) used a genetically-selected rat model characterized by reduced corticosterone responsiveness to stress to shed light on the potential role of cortisol in explaining why only some trauma-exposed individuals develop PTSD. They found that blunted glucocorticoid responsiveness led to impaired fear extinction, smaller hippocampal volume, and disturbances to rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. They also demonstrated that fear extinction deficits and concomitant disruptions in REM could be normalized through postextinction corticosterone administration, causally implicating glucocorticoid deficiency in two core PTSD-related risk factors and manifestations. These findings demonstrate a causal link implicating glucocorticoids in sustaining neurophysiological disturbances leading to fear extinction deficits. This study may have translational relevance to humans and clinical or pharmacological strategies for PTSD.

 

Monari S., Guillot de Suduiraut, I., Grosse, J., Zanoletti, O., Walker S.E., Mesquita, M., Wood, T.C., Cash, D., Astori, S., Sandi, C. (2023). Blunted Glucocorticoid Responsiveness to Stress Causes Behavioral and Biological Alterations That Lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Vulnerability. Biol Psychiatry. Sep 23:S0006-3223(23)01590-1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.09.015

Social Safety Theory: Conceptual foundation, underlying mechanisms, and future directions

HONORABLE MENTION FOR MEASUREMENT/THEORY

 

Slavich et al. (2023) propose an integrated, multilevel, and biologically based, evolutionary account for how and why experiences of social safety and social threat are strongly related to health, well-being, aging, and longevity. The theory advances a testable framework for investigating the biopsychosocial roots of health disparities, how health-relevant biopsychosocial processes crystalize over time, and how perceptions of the social environment interact with childhood microbial environment, birth cohort, culture, air pollution, genetics, sleep, diet, personality, and self-harm to affect health. This theory also highlights several interventions for reducing social threat and promoting resilience.

Slavich, G. M., Roos, L. G., Mengelkoch, S., Webb, C. A., Shattuck, E. C., Moriarity, D. P., & Alley, J. C. (2023). Social Safety Theory: Conceptual foundation, underlying mechanisms, and future directions. Health Psychology Review, 17(1), 5–59. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2023.2171900

Longitudinal Change in Daily Stress Across 20 Years of Adulthood: Results From the National Study of Daily Experiences

HONORABLE MENTION FOR HUMAN EMPIRICAL/CLINICAL

 

In one of the largest longitudinal stress studies to date, Almeida et al. (2023) examined age-related patterns in exposure and reactivity to daily stressors across 20-years among adults aged 22-77. Using longitudinal data from the National Study of Daily Experiences (N = 2,845; number of daily assessments = 33,688), they found that younger adults (<30 years) experienced the highest stress levels, which improved with age. Over time, adults averaged an 11% reduction in the occurrence of stressor days, and a 47% reduction in stress reactivity (for younger adults). For those aged 54 and older, stress reactivity remained stable over time, while stressor frequency continued to decrease. These results suggest a habituation process of adaptation to stress as individuals age. 

 

Almeida, D. M., Rush, J., Mogle, J., Piazza, J. R., Cerino, E., & Charles, S. T. (2023). Longitudinal change in daily stress across 20 years of adulthood: Results from the national study of daily experiences. Developmental Psychology, 59(3), 515–523. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0001469

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