Committee Chair

Ozbek, Irene N.

Committee Member

Foerder, Preston, G.; Santiago, Manuel F.


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The negative correlation between olfactory sensitivity and depression has been well documented, but the biological processes underpinning the relationship are not understood. This study explored a potential relationship between olfactory sensitivity, stress, and resilience to stress, specifically examining neuropeptide y (NPY) as a mediator. In phase I, 197 UTC students participated in a survey measuring stress and resilience among other factors. Of this sample, 25 students volunteered for phase II, in which they took an olfactory threshold test and gave blood. Serum levels of cortisol and NPY were analyzed from blood samples. Correlational analyses suggest a positive effect of stress (p=.013) and a negative effect of resilience (p=.003) on olfactory thresholds, while biological markers were inconclusive. Future studies should incorporate the diagnosis of stress disorders, as biological markers may not significantly fluctuate based on non-clinical levels of stress.


Thanks first and foremost to my advisor and committee chair, Dr. Ozbek, as well as to Dr. Santiago and Dr. Foerder. I extend great gratitude to Jonathan Davidson, M.D., for his permission to use the CD-RISC to study relationships between resilience and olfaction. I would also like to thank Dr. Liz Culler with Blood Assurance of Chattanooga, along with Debbie Gentry and the rest of the Blood Assurance staff. Additional thanks to the olfaction team at UTC: Robert Gormley, Naomi Whitson, Katie Pendergast, Jessica York, and Justin Brown. Finally, I’d like to thank the students and faculty in the Research Master’s program, all of whom have contributed in their own way to my academic efforts.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Smell -- Psychological aspects; Sensory evaluation


Stress; Resilience; Olfaction; Neuropeptide y

Document Type

Masters theses


xii, 63 leaves




Under copyright.