Childhood Stress and Family Environment. Kyle Krueger, Jon Schectman , Jennifer Clay. Biology of Stress. Function of the limbic system and basal ganglia (SAM) – Sympathetic-adrenal- medullary Epinephrine and norepinephrine (HPA) – Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal Glucocorticoids Cortisol.
Kyle Krueger, Jon Schectman, Jennifer Clay
Function of the limbic system and basal ganglia
(SAM) – Sympathetic-adrenal-medullary
Epinephrine and norepinephrine
(HPA) – Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal
Why do we care about cortisol and family environment?
Psychosocial stress and uncertainty
Chronic stress can lead to:
Permanent alteration of HPA functioning
Prenatal drug exposure
Factors influencing cortisol levels:
Time course of endocrine functions
How do we account for all of these factors?
Longitudinal Anthropological study
Both behavior and cortisol assay
Short-term as well as long-term events
Provides cultural context
Cultural significance of events
Individuation of subjects
247 Children 2 months-18 years from 82 homes-nearly complete sample
BwaMawego, rural village in Dominica
+/- 780 residents
Divided into 5 neighborhoods, 4 of which were involved in this study
Mixed African, Carib, and European descents
Primary focus of this report in on relations between stress (dependent variable) and family environment (independent variable)
From these results, the conclusion is that childhood stress is associated with household composition
Low-basal-with-high spikes cortisol profile children all have low sociability and high aggressiveness.
All children with the chronically high cortisol profile have shyness and social anxiety.
Parents need to be extra attentive to stress levels.
A bad start can lead to repeated stress
Small amounts of stress may lead to development of coping mechanisms
Engaging children in activities that activate stress could be beneficial. I.E. Sports.
Children need strong support systems