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Maternal sensitivity and adrenocortical functioning across infancy and toddlerhood: Physiological adaptation to context?
Dev Psychopathol. 2017 02; 29(1):303-317.DP

Abstract

Theory suggests that early experiences may calibrate the "threshold activity" of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in childhood. Particularly challenging or particularly supportive environments are posited to manifest in heightened physiological sensitivity to context. Using longitudinal data from the Family Life Project (N = 1,292), we tested whether links between maternal sensitivity and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity aligned with these predictions. Specifically, we tested whether the magnitude of the within-person relation between maternal sensitivity and children's cortisol levels, a proxy for physiological sensitivity to context, was especially pronounced for children who typically experienced particularly low or high levels of maternal sensitivity over time. Our results were consistent with these hypotheses. Between children, lower levels of mean maternal sensitivity (7-24 months) were associated with higher mean cortisol levels across this period (measured as a basal sample collected at each visit). However, the magnitude and direction of the within-person relation was contingent on children's average levels of maternal sensitivity over time. Increases in maternal sensitivity were associated with contemporaneous cortisol decreases for children with typically low-sensitive mothers, whereas sensitivity increases were associated with cortisol increases for children with typically high-sensitive mothers. No within-child effects were evident at moderate levels of maternal sensitivity.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign.New York University.RTI International.Johns Hopkins University.University of North Carolina at Greensboro.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

27065311

Citation

Berry, Daniel, et al. "Maternal Sensitivity and Adrenocortical Functioning Across Infancy and Toddlerhood: Physiological Adaptation to Context?" Development and Psychopathology, vol. 29, no. 1, 2017, pp. 303-317.
Berry D, Blair C, Willoughby M, et al. Maternal sensitivity and adrenocortical functioning across infancy and toddlerhood: Physiological adaptation to context? Dev Psychopathol. 2017;29(1):303-317.
Berry, D., Blair, C., Willoughby, M., Granger, D. A., & Mills-Koonce, W. R. (2017). Maternal sensitivity and adrenocortical functioning across infancy and toddlerhood: Physiological adaptation to context? Development and Psychopathology, 29(1), 303-317. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579416000158
Berry D, et al. Maternal Sensitivity and Adrenocortical Functioning Across Infancy and Toddlerhood: Physiological Adaptation to Context. Dev Psychopathol. 2017;29(1):303-317. PubMed PMID: 27065311.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Maternal sensitivity and adrenocortical functioning across infancy and toddlerhood: Physiological adaptation to context? AU - Berry,Daniel, AU - Blair,Clancy, AU - Willoughby,Michael, AU - Granger,Douglas A, AU - Mills-Koonce,W Roger, AU - ,, Y1 - 2016/04/11/ PY - 2016/4/12/pubmed PY - 2017/7/25/medline PY - 2016/4/12/entrez SP - 303 EP - 317 JF - Development and psychopathology JO - Dev Psychopathol VL - 29 IS - 1 N2 - Theory suggests that early experiences may calibrate the "threshold activity" of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in childhood. Particularly challenging or particularly supportive environments are posited to manifest in heightened physiological sensitivity to context. Using longitudinal data from the Family Life Project (N = 1,292), we tested whether links between maternal sensitivity and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity aligned with these predictions. Specifically, we tested whether the magnitude of the within-person relation between maternal sensitivity and children's cortisol levels, a proxy for physiological sensitivity to context, was especially pronounced for children who typically experienced particularly low or high levels of maternal sensitivity over time. Our results were consistent with these hypotheses. Between children, lower levels of mean maternal sensitivity (7-24 months) were associated with higher mean cortisol levels across this period (measured as a basal sample collected at each visit). However, the magnitude and direction of the within-person relation was contingent on children's average levels of maternal sensitivity over time. Increases in maternal sensitivity were associated with contemporaneous cortisol decreases for children with typically low-sensitive mothers, whereas sensitivity increases were associated with cortisol increases for children with typically high-sensitive mothers. No within-child effects were evident at moderate levels of maternal sensitivity. SN - 1469-2198 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/27065311/Maternal_sensitivity_and_adrenocortical_functioning_across_infancy_and_toddlerhood:_Physiological_adaptation_to_context L2 - https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S0954579416000158/type/journal_article DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -