Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Timothy Schoenfeld

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Sex differences have shown to have a profound effect on the increased prevalence of the development of depression and anxiety disorders within women. Women are two times more likely to suffer from major depression than men (Shors & Leuner, 2003). This suggests that gender-specific biological factors, specifically hormones, may be responsible. Women are known to have fluctuating levels of estrogen throughout their menstrual cycles. Furthermore, estrogen is also known to act as a protective mechanism against symptoms of both depression and anxiety. In order to examine any potential correlations between levels of estrogen and symptoms pertaining to Major Depressive Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, participants were recruited to partake in responding to a Qualtrics survey containing items from the Beck’s Hopelessness Inventory and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Afterwards, participants were guided to complete an Emotional Stroop Task measuring accuracy and response time in reference to emotionally positive or negative words. To test the estrogen concentration levels of each participant, saliva samples will be collected and identified through conducting ELISA saliva tests. We hypothesize that there will be better performance on the Emotional Stroop task and decreased risk of depressive and anxious behavior based on a Beck’s Hopelessness Inventory and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory screening in participants with higher levels of estrogen. The results of this study further the discussion on how biological factors, such as estrogen, play a role in the mental health of women.

Abstract.docx (8 kB)