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Infant cortisol and behavioral habituation to weekly maternal separations: links with maternal prenatal cortisol and psychosocial stress.
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Dec; 38(12):2863-74.P

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Our aim was to examine infants' behavioral and physiological stress responses to three weekly maternal separations, in relation to maternal prenatal psychosocial stress and cortisol. The hypothesis was that more prenatal stress and higher cortisol concentrations would predict smaller decreases in negative behavior and cortisol responses over the separations (i.e. less habituation).

METHODS

General and pregnancy-related feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as circadian cortisol levels, were measured in 107 mothers in the third trimester of pregnancy. At 9 months of age, infants were subjected to three weekly 1-h maternal separations in their homes. Salivary cortisol was obtained from the infants prior to the separation and at 35, 75, and 90 min after the mother had left. For each separation, the area under the curve to the ground (AUCg) was calculated to measure the infants' cortisol response, and the sum of the time spent crying and fussing was calculated to measure the infants' behavioral response.

RESULTS

Maternal pregnancy cortisol awakening response (CAR) significantly predicted infants' cortisol and behavioral responses. A lower CAR was related to a decreasing cortisol response, while a higher CAR was related to a stable cortisol response over all separations, as well as to less crying and fussing over all separations.

CONCLUSIONS

Increased maternal prenatal stress, as measured by the CAR, is related to altered behavioral and cortisol responses to a repeated stressor in the 9-month-old infant. These responses might result in prolonged periods with high cortisol levels that may affect the child's development.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Developmental Psychology, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: c.deweerth@psych.ru.nl.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24103888

Citation

de Weerth, Carolina, et al. "Infant Cortisol and Behavioral Habituation to Weekly Maternal Separations: Links With Maternal Prenatal Cortisol and Psychosocial Stress." Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 38, no. 12, 2013, pp. 2863-74.
de Weerth C, Buitelaar JK, Beijers R. Infant cortisol and behavioral habituation to weekly maternal separations: links with maternal prenatal cortisol and psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013;38(12):2863-74.
de Weerth, C., Buitelaar, J. K., & Beijers, R. (2013). Infant cortisol and behavioral habituation to weekly maternal separations: links with maternal prenatal cortisol and psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(12), 2863-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.07.014
de Weerth C, Buitelaar JK, Beijers R. Infant Cortisol and Behavioral Habituation to Weekly Maternal Separations: Links With Maternal Prenatal Cortisol and Psychosocial Stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013;38(12):2863-74. PubMed PMID: 24103888.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Infant cortisol and behavioral habituation to weekly maternal separations: links with maternal prenatal cortisol and psychosocial stress. AU - de Weerth,Carolina, AU - Buitelaar,Jan K, AU - Beijers,Roseriet, Y1 - 2013/10/06/ PY - 2013/04/05/received PY - 2013/07/09/revised PY - 2013/07/23/accepted PY - 2013/10/10/entrez PY - 2013/10/10/pubmed PY - 2014/7/22/medline KW - Behavior KW - Cortisol KW - Cortisol awakening response (CAR) KW - Crying KW - Habituation KW - Infancy KW - Maternal prenatal stress SP - 2863 EP - 74 JF - Psychoneuroendocrinology JO - Psychoneuroendocrinology VL - 38 IS - 12 N2 - INTRODUCTION: Our aim was to examine infants' behavioral and physiological stress responses to three weekly maternal separations, in relation to maternal prenatal psychosocial stress and cortisol. The hypothesis was that more prenatal stress and higher cortisol concentrations would predict smaller decreases in negative behavior and cortisol responses over the separations (i.e. less habituation). METHODS: General and pregnancy-related feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as circadian cortisol levels, were measured in 107 mothers in the third trimester of pregnancy. At 9 months of age, infants were subjected to three weekly 1-h maternal separations in their homes. Salivary cortisol was obtained from the infants prior to the separation and at 35, 75, and 90 min after the mother had left. For each separation, the area under the curve to the ground (AUCg) was calculated to measure the infants' cortisol response, and the sum of the time spent crying and fussing was calculated to measure the infants' behavioral response. RESULTS: Maternal pregnancy cortisol awakening response (CAR) significantly predicted infants' cortisol and behavioral responses. A lower CAR was related to a decreasing cortisol response, while a higher CAR was related to a stable cortisol response over all separations, as well as to less crying and fussing over all separations. CONCLUSIONS: Increased maternal prenatal stress, as measured by the CAR, is related to altered behavioral and cortisol responses to a repeated stressor in the 9-month-old infant. These responses might result in prolonged periods with high cortisol levels that may affect the child's development. SN - 1873-3360 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24103888/Infant_cortisol_and_behavioral_habituation_to_weekly_maternal_separations:_links_with_maternal_prenatal_cortisol_and_psychosocial_stress_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0306-4530(13)00264-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -