Psychobiological impact of speaking a second language in healthy young men

Fischer, Susanne and Spoerri, Corinne M. and Gmuer, Andrea and Wingeier, Manuela and Nater, Urs M. and Gaab, Jens and Ehlert, Ulrike and Ditzen, Beate. (2019) Psychobiological impact of speaking a second language in healthy young men. Stress, the International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 22 (3). pp. 403-407.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/80144/

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The use of second languages is ubiquitous in modern societies. Despite many benefits, there is also evidence for this to cause or exacerbate stress (e.g. in the form of foreign language anxiety). The aim of the present study was to examine to which extent speaking a second language increases acute psychobiological stress in a social context. A total of N = 63 healthy Swiss males were randomly allocated to one of two conditions: completing the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in Swiss German (their first language) vs. standard German (perceived as a second language). Repeated measures of self-reported stress, anxiety, salivary cortisol, and heart rate were obtained. Participants speaking standard German showed significantly larger cortisol increases in response to the TSST when compared to those speaking Swiss German (F(1, 61) = 5.53, p = .022, eta; 2; = .083). The two groups did not differ in terms of self-reported stress and anxiety, nor in their heart rate response (all p > .216). This study provides initial evidence that speaking a second language in social contexts increases the cortisol stress response. Future research should explore the short- and long-term effects this may have in populations frequently using second languages (e.g. learners of a second language, migrants).
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Health & Intervention > Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie (Gaab)
UniBasel Contributors:Gaab, Jens
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:02 Mar 2022 11:09
Deposited On:02 Mar 2022 11:09

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