R01MH115678 Acute vs Chronic Stress-Enhanced Fear Learning.

National Institute on Mental Health. 05/1/2018 – 04/30/2023. (PI)

Stress can have a profound detrimental impact on our behavior, predisposing us to anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. Given the high prevalence of these disorders understanding the basic biological and psychological processes is vitally important if we wish to address these significant problems and develop effective treatments. One question in the literature is whether a single (acute) exposure to stress or repeated (chronic) stress has similar effects. A second question is how severe must stress be in order to produce detrimental effects. Do repeated mild stressful experiences have an added impact that equals that of a more severe acute stressor? Does chronic stress exposure have a greater impact than an equally intense acute stressful experience?