Title: In pre-school children, cortisol secretion remains stable over 12 months and is related to psychological functioning and gender
Authors : Hatzinger, Martin
Brand, Serge
Perren, Sonja
von Wyl, Agnes
Stadelmann, Stephanie
von Klitzing, Kai
Holsboer-Trachsler, Edith
Published in : Journal of Psychiatric Research
Volume(Issue) : 47
Issue : 10
Pages : 1409
Pages to: 1416
Publisher / Ed. Institution : Pergamon Press
Issue Date: 2013
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Peer review (Publication)
Language : English
Subjects : Cortisol secretion; Longitudinal study; Pre-schooler; Psychological functioning; Gender
Subject (DDC) : 616.89: Mental disorders, clinical psychology and psychiatry
Abstract: Objectives: Cross-sectional studies provide evidence that cortisol secretion as a marker of hypothalamuspituitary-adrenocortical axis activity (HPA AA) is related to psychological functioning and behavior. However, there are no studies of the stability of the HPA AA in pre-schoolers over the longer term. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate cortisol secretion in pre-schoolers longitudinally, and to predict psychological functioning12 months later. Method: 92 pre-schoolers (mean age: 5.4 years; 44% females) took part in a follow-up assessment 12 months after initial assessment. Cortisol secretion was assessed both at baseline (morning cortisol secretion) and under challenge conditions, and a thorough psychological assessment was included. Results: Increased cortisol secretion at 5.4 years predicted increased cortisol secretion and psychological difficulties at 6.4 years. Compared to boys, girls had higher cortisol secretion at both 5.4 and 6.4 years. Cross-sectionally, at the age of 6.4 years, levels of cortisol secretion impacted differentially on girls’ and boys’ behavior. Conclusion: In pre-schoolers, HPA axis activity at 5.4 years is stable over the following 12 months and is associated with psychological functioning. Pre-schoolers with higher cortisol levels are at increased risk of developing further psychological difficulties. Gender affects the manner in which HPA axis activity impacts on psychological functioning. Moreover, gender differences in cortisol secretion occur already in prepubertal children and appear to be independent from sex steroids.
Departement: Angewandte Psychologie
Organisational Unit: Psychological Institute (PI)
Publication type: Article in scientific Journal
DOI : 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.05.030
ISSN: 0022-3956
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/3425
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Angewandte Psychologie

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