Social Stress and Suicide

  • End date
    Jan 2, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University Hospital, Montpellier
Updated on 2 February 2021


Only vulnerable patients, when facing environmental stressors, attempt or commit suicide. Previous research demonstrated that suicide attempters usually misunderstand the social context and show impairments in decision making. Heart activity, endocrine and inflammatory response to stress were related with these features. For that, suicide attempters, in a context of social stress, would have maladaptive physiological response impacting the following decision making. The main aim is to identify the physiological response (autonomous nervous system, endocrine and inflammatory response) of suicide attempters under social stress conditions and to investigate the association of this response with the posterior decision making.

The study aims to compare physiological response to social stress and posterior decision-making response in 80 euthymics women with a past mood disorder according to their history of suicide attempt


Hypothesis: 1. suicide attempters will have a lower cortisol, and, greater alpha-amylase and peripheral inflammatory response after a social stressor, compared to non-attempters 2. suicide attempters will have a hyper-activation of the cardiovascular response during the social stressor and a slower recovery to basal levels, compared with non-attempters.

3. With respect to decision-making, suicide attempters will demonstrate riskier decision-making than non-attempters after the social stressor, compared to non-attempters. Risk-taking behavior will be related with lower cortisol and higher testosterone levels after the stressor.

Measures: electrocardiogram (ECG) and impedance cardiography (IKG) will be used to analyse cardiovascular function during social stressor. Salivary samples to analyze cortisol, testosterone and -amylase. Blood samples to analyze several peripheral inflammatory proteins. The Iowa Gambling Task a neuropsychologial task to evaluate decision making. Several questionnaires of mood, anxiety and psychological pain during the stressor. And a comprehensive battery of clinical measures for screening and assessment of construct of suicide, and psychiatric and social status.

Procedures: Depressed females will be screened and assigned to 2 groups: 1) 40 depressed with suicide attempt history. 2) 40 depressed without suicide attempt history. Participants will confront a virtual version of the Trier Social Stress Test (V-TSST). This test consists in a preparation and execution of a presentation in front of a virtual tribunal for obtain a job position followed by an arithmetic mental task. During the procedure, ECG and IKG will be performed, 5 salivary samples and 5 blood samples (before and after the stressor) and some self-reports of mood, anxiety and pain. After procedure decision making will be assessed. Their participation will consist of 3 visits : inclusion visit (psychiatric interview), visit between 1 to 8 days (social stressor procedure), at 12 months (follow up).

Potential impact and next steps: Identifying differences between the two depressed groups in the physiological response to social stress and their subsequent decision making will advance the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of suicide. As social stress is present in several life events during lifetime, know how suicidal people respond to these issues may help in the implementation of preventive interventions.

Condition Past Major Depressive Episode, Euthymic
Treatment The virtual version of the Social stress task : V-TSST
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04714671
SponsorUniversity Hospital, Montpellier
Last Modified on2 February 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

past major depressive episode according to the DSM-5 criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
euthymic (IDSC < 14 and YMRS < 7)
ability to understand experimental procedures
able to speak, read and understand French
able to give written informed consent
for suicide attempters only: Lifetime history of suicide attempt
for affective controls only: No lifetime history of suicide attempt

Exclusion Criteria

Lifetime diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia or social phobia throughout
Alcohol or illicit substance use disorder in the last 6 months
Diagnosis of current cardiovascular (arrhythmia, hypertension, heart valve problems, past heart attack or stroke, congenital heart disease), respiratory (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, lung tumor) endocrine (adrenal disorder, cushing syndrome, adrenal tumor, type-2 diabetes, androgen deficiency, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hypogonadism, polycystic ovarian syndrome) or neurological disease (dementia, brain stroke, epilepsia, multiple sclerosis, huntington disease, muscular dystrophy, brain or spinal cord tumor, meningitis) based on the first interview, which can interfere with the cardiovascular, endocrine or neurocognitive outcomes of the study
current cardiovascular medication which directly affects heart or arterial function or corticoids intake; anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents and dual antiplatelet therapy, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, vasodilators
Pregnancy (urine pregnancy test) or breastfeeding
refusing to participate
being in exclusion period for another study
not being affiliated to the French National Social Security System
having reached 4500 annual compensation for participating to clinical trials
being protected by law or deprived of liberty
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note