Parent support is less effective in buffering cortisol stress reactivity for adolescents compared to children

Camelia E. Hostinar, Anna E. Johnson, Megan R Gunnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to investigate developmental differences in the effectiveness of parent support to alleviate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stress responses of children (ages 9-10, N = 40) and adolescents (ages 15-16, N = 41). We experimentally manipulated the provision of parent support during the speech preparation period before a modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and examined its effect on levels of salivary cortisol secreted in response to this laboratory stressor. Analyses revealed a significant interaction of condition and age group such that social support from the parent (versus a stranger) significantly eliminated the cortisol stress response in children, but had no effect on the response among adolescents. Parent support provided in the laboratory during the speech preparation period before a modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) successfully eliminated the cortisol stress response to the TSST in 9-10-year-old children, but had no effect on the response among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-297
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Science
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

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