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  • Open Access

The effect of experimentally induced psychological stress on seminal parameters in healthy volunteers

  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4 and
  • 5
Annals of General Psychiatry20087 (Suppl 1) :S245

  • Published:


  • Healthy Volunteer
  • Small Sample Size
  • Medical Student
  • Infertility
  • Chronic Stress


Studies on the effects of psychological stress on male infertility have so far yielded equivocal findings [1, 2]. The majority of these studies were based on subjective assessments of chronic stress. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of experimentally induced acute stress on seminal parameters.

Materials and methods

Twenty healthy postgraduate medical students produced two semen samples. The first sample was obtained in the lab after an acute stress-inducing task, and the second one at home. The acute stress inducing protocol was based on the Trier Social Stress Test [3].


Semen volume was significantly higher after acute stress, compared to semen volume at home (p=0.02). Semen pH was significantly lower after acute stress, compared to semen pH at home (p=0.039). A trend was observed for grade of motility to be higher after acute stress, than at home (p= 0.059).


This study was the first one to examine the effects of experimentally induced stress on semen parameters. The main limitation of the study concerns the small sample size. Findings suggest that exposure to acute stress influences semen parameters, possibly due to an increase in prostatic secretions, with a possible improvement in seminal parameters important for fertilization.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of General Practice, AHEPA Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
Lab of Hygiene, Medical School, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Unit for Human Reproduction, 1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Department of Pharmacology, Medical School, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece


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  2. Hjollund NH, Bonde JP, Henriksen TB, Giwercman A, Olsen J: The Danish first pregnancy planner study team: Reproductive effects of male psychological stress. Epidemiology. 2004, 15: 21-27. 10.1097/01.ede.0000100289.82156.8b.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
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© Golias et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.