Blunted HPA Axis Response to Stress Is Related to a Persistent Dysregulation Profile in Youth

Published In: Biological Psychology, v. 93, no. 3, July 2013, p. 343-351

Posted on RAND.org on June 01, 2013

by Lynsay Ayer, Kirstin Greaves-Lord, Robert R. Althoff, James J. Hudziak, Gwendolyn C. Dieleman, Frank C. Verhulst, Jan van der Ende

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The Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulation Profile (DP) in youth has been shown to be a predictor of psychopathology later in life. We examined the activity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis in youth with remitted, new, persistent, and no DP. Data from 489 youth (47% boys) participating in a Dutch longitudinal general population study were included (Wave 1 mean age = 11.5, Wave 2 = 14.2). Wave 2 diurnal cortisol patterns and levels in response to a laboratory stress paradigm were compared in youth with DP at Wave 1 only, Wave 2 only, both Waves, and neither Wave. Youth with the DP at Wave 2 only or at both time points showed blunted cortisol responses to stress relative to the other two groups. There were no group or sex differences in diurnal cortisol activity. More research is needed to determine how the association between DP symptoms and HPA axis functioning changes over time.

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