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Table 3 Summary of articles describing sex differences in protocolled social stress test similar or equal to the TSST-C

From: Is HPA axis reactivity in childhood gender-specific? A systematic review

Author (year) Sample size Age Sampling points Sampling medium Results
Bae (2015) 169 (81 controls) 10.8 ± 1.8 years 8× (3 before, 5 after) Saliva No sex differences; pubertal status not associated with reactivity
Bouma (2009) 644 16.13 ± 0.59 years 5× (2 before, 3 after) (Groningen Social Stress Test) Saliva Cortisol responses were stronger in boys
Bouma (2011) 553 16.07 ± 0.90 years 4× (1 before, 3 after) (Groningen Social Stress Test) Saliva Boys had higher cortisol levels on sample 2
De Veld (2012) 158 10.61 ± 0.52 years 7× (2 before, 5 after) Saliva Cortisol response stronger in girls
Dockray (2009) 111 Boys: 9, 11, or 13 years; girls: 8, 10, or 12 years 5×, 2 before, 3 after Saliva No sex differences; age but not pubertal stage associated with reactivity in girls, no associations in boys.
Evans (2013) 707 13.77 ± 3.56 years After each period/task, at the middle of the documentary, and at the end of it (in figure 2: 6 samples, 2 before, 4 during/after) (social stress tests based on TSST) Saliva In children (7–12): lower cortisol reactivity in boys experiencing less emotional warmth
Adolescents (13–20): no sex differences
Gunnar (2009) 82 Four age groups: 9 (9.79 ± 0.16), 11 (11.57 ± 0.15), 13 (13.55 ± 0.46), and 15 (15.55 ± 0.47) 10×, 3 before, 7 after Saliva No sex differences, except higher cortisol reactivity in girls at age 13
Hostinar (2014) 191 14.4 ± 1.93 years 6× (2 before, 4 after) (TSST for groups) Saliva No sex differences; higher intercepts and greater anticipatory responses with increasing age, pubertal status not assessed
Hostinar (2015) 81 (40 children, 41 adolescents) Children: 9.97 ± 0.52 years; adolescents: 16.05 ± 0.39 years 4× (1 before, 3 after) Saliva Stronger response in 9–10-year old girls, no sex differences among adolescents
Ji (2016) 135 Boys: 9, 11, or 13 years; girls: 8, 10, or 12 years 5× (2 before, 3 after) Saliva At wave 3 (each wave separated by 6 months): girls have stronger reaction to stressor; no sex differences in recovery
Jones (2006) 140 7–9 years 7× (3 before, 4 after) Saliva Anticipatory rise in both, further increment in girls
Kudielka (2004) 31 12.1 ± 0.3 years 5×, 1 before, 4 after Saliva No sex differences; pubertal status not assessed
Lu (2014) 87 12.7 ± 0.3 years 9×, not specified when Saliva More negative logAUCi in girls (less increase)
Martikainen (2013) 252 8.1 ± 0.3 years 7× (2 before, 5 after) Saliva Higher peak, AUCg, and AUCi in girls
Martin (2011) 40 16–18 years 7× (1 before, 6 after) Saliva No sex differences; pubertal status not assessed
Mrug (2016) 84 13.36 ± 0.95 years 3×, 1 before, 2 after Saliva Higher post-test cortisol and AUCi in girls
Peckins (2012) 124 10.49 ± 1.68 years; boys: 9, 11, or 13 years; girls: 8, 10, or 12 years 5×, 2 before, 3 after Saliva No sex differences; pubertal status not associated with reactivity
Portnoy (2015) 446 11.92 ± 0.59 years 4×, 1 before, 3 after Saliva No sex differences in AUCg; pubertal status not associated with reactivity
Raikkonen (2010) 292 8.1 ± 0.3 years 7× (2 before, 5 after) Saliva Boys lower than girls
Strahler (2010) 62 6–10 years 4×, 1 before, 3 after Saliva No sex differences; pubertal status not assessed
Trickett (2014) 303 maltreated, 151 control Maltreated: 10.84 ± 1.16 years; comparison: 11.11 ± 1.15 years 6× (2 before, 4 after) Saliva Cortisol response blunted in girls compared to boys