Lack of stability in neonatal adrenocortical reactivity because of rapid habituation of the adrenocortical response

Megan R Gunnar, Joan Connors, Jill Isensee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine the stability of the adrenocortical response to stimulatin in the human neonate. Forty‐nine healthy newborns were examined twice responding to discharge examinations performed on two consecutive days. The dependent measures were salivary and plasma cortisol and behavioral state. Little evidence of stability was obtained. Instead, the results showeds significant elevations in cortisol only in response to the first discharge examination. No significant elevation in cortisol was noted to the second discharge examination although the newborns continued to exhibit behavioral distress. Time since delivery was not a significant factor in producing these results. The findings are discussed with regard to neonatal coping processes and the importance of novelty in regulating increases in adrenocortical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1989

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