HPA-axis functioning in children: A psychobiological perspective
[S.l.] : [S.n.]
Number of pages
Radboud University, 23 februari 2018
Promotores : Weerth, C. de, Cillessen, A.H.N.
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A major player of the human stress system is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis producing cortisol as primary hormonal end product. Alterations in cortisol production have been associated with health, making it important to understand HPA-axis functioning. This is especially important in childhood since during childhood HPA-axis functioning is developing, can be modified by interventions, and is susceptible to environmental factors. This dissertation focused on dynamics, development, early life predictors, and current correlates of HPA-axis functioning in childhood. Data of the ongoing prospective longitudinal BIBO project, following a cohort of typically developing children, were used. Results indicated, amongst other things, that a cortisol index of HPA-axis functioning showed developmental change between the ages of 1 and 6 years, and that maternal distress early in children’s lives, both pre- and postnatal, was associated with children’s later cortisol. These results indicate that early childhood is an important developmental period for HPA-axis functioning.
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