LIBC Stress & Emotion


LIBC Stress & Emotion

All living creatures have to cope with environmental demands and threats that challenge their physical or emotional homeostasis. For humans these challenges, or stressors, cover a wide range of acute and chronic phenomena, from direct actual physiological threats to more subjectively perceived (emotional) threats, such as neglect or the imagined loss of status. The term ‘stress’ is often used to indicate the pattern of physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to a challenge of one’s homeostasis. Ideally, the pattern of reactions results in an effective coping or adaptation, often enhancing physical or mental functioning.  However, it is well-known that acute stress can also lead to acute disturbances in cognition, mood and behaviour, and is a major precipitating and maintenance factor for long lasting disturbances like affective disorders and in the case of severe traumatic stress, posttraumatic stress disorder.  Stress related disorders are among the most frequent medical disorders, with a huge impact on people’s life and society.  Furthermore, research has shown that exposure to chronic stress during childhood, like emotional maltreatment, has detrimental effects on a child’s psychological and biological development.

Although there has been an increase in the research into brain function and dysfunction in relation to stress, there are still many unanswered questions. Within the LIBC hotspot ‘Stress’ researchers focus on questions such as:

  • Which factors (personality, genetic, etc.) make people vulnerable or resilient to the consequences of (traumatic) stress?
  • What is the impact of exposure to chronic stress during early development on brain structure and functioning?
  • Which brain networks are involved in stress and recovery from stress?
  • What is the effect of treatments on brain networks involved in stress?
  • What is the influence of stress on cognitive functioning?
  • Which brain abnormalities are found in endocrine diseases involving the stress-axis?


On November 1st, 2013 the hotspot Stress and Emotion organized a public seminar titled 'Stress in het brein van baby tot bejaarde'. 750 people registered for this seminar. Would you like to see some comments (in Dutch) on this day?
If so, click on the poster:

stress in het brein poster A1 logos groot 









 Research within this research area or hotspot is conducted under the supervision of prof.dr. Nic van der Wee and prof.dr. Bernet Elzinga

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