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Trier Social Stress Test

A Method for Use in Nursing Research

Williams, Reg Arthur; Hagerty, Bonnie M.; Brooks, Geneal


Background: Researchers face the difficulty of inducing psyquitchosocial stress in a laboratory setting using a method that institutional review boards could consider an acceptable research protocol.

Methods: This article describes the Trier Social Stress Test, a research protocol that can be used to induce psychosocial stress and capture the integrated aspects of an individual's biologic and psychological responses.

Results: The test involves 15 minutes of psychosocial stress induced by a mock job interview and followed by a mental arithmetic challenge before a panel of three judges. The discomfort associated with performance requirements induces stress in socially acceptable ways that can be measured using physiologic and/or psychological parameters.

Conclusions: This method allows stress to be induced and measured in a controlled, laboratory setting.

Reg Arthur Williams, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, is Professor, School of Nursing and Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Bonnie M. Hagerty, PhD, RN, CS, is Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Geneal Brooks, PhD, RN, is a resident of Rochester, Michigan.

Accepted for publication January 20, 2004.

Corresponding author: Reg Arthur Williams, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, University of Michigan, School of Nursing, 400 North Ingalls, Room 4352, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.