Pubertal transition with current life stress and support alters longitudinal diurnal cortisol patterns in adolescents exposed to early life adversity

Brie M. Reid, Carrie E. DePasquale, Bonny Donzella, Keira B. Leneman, Heather Taylor, Megan R. Gunnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current and early life stress (ELS) are associated with diurnal cortisol patterns, which themselves are associated with mental and physical health. The pubertal recalibration hypothesis suggests that the social environment can impact dysregulated cortisol patterns for previously ELS-exposed youth as they transition through puberty. This study examined longitudinal change in cortisol awakening response (CAR) and diurnal slope (DS) across puberty as a function of ELS in infancy, current stress, and social support (N = 290, 7–17 years). The CAR and DS were examined thrice annually with an accelerated longitudinal design with nurse-assessed puberty to assess associations between diurnal cortisol and pubertal recalibration with ELS and the current social environment. Exposure to ELS was associated with less steep DS but not changes in CAR, and no evidence of pubertal calibration was found. The DS became less steep for youth in later pubertal stages and as youth progressed through puberty. The CAR was steeper for youth in later pubertal stages. Across the cohort, current life stress and support were associated with changes in the DS and the CAR through the pubertal transition. The pubertal stage and the peripubertal and pubertal social environment may have important implications for adrenocortical functioning with or without exposure to ELS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22146
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Volume63
Issue number6
Early online dateMay 30 2021
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by NICHD R01 HD075349 (to MRG), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF Grant No. 00039202, awarded to BMR), the PEO Scholar Award (awarded to BMR), the University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Award (awarded to BMR), and NIMH T32 MH015755 (to CED). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors wish to thank the families who participated, the International Adoption Project, and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development at the University of Minnesota. We also thank Tori Simenec, Bao Moua, Lea Neumann, Mariann Howland, and Chris Desjardins for their assistance with the study. This paper is dedicated to the scholarship, friendship, and bright memory of Dr. Carrie DePasquale. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01 HD075349 National Science Foundation (USA) National Institute of Mental Health T32 MH015755

Funding Information:
This study was funded by NICHD R01 HD075349 (to MRG), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF Grant No. 00039202, awarded to BMR), the PEO Scholar Award (awarded to BMR), the University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Award (awarded to BMR), and NIMH T32 MH015755 (to CED). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors wish to thank the families who participated, the International Adoption Project, and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development at the University of Minnesota. We also thank Tori Simenec, Bao Moua, Lea Neumann, Mariann Howland, and Chris Desjardins for their assistance with the study. This paper is dedicated to the scholarship, friendship, and bright memory of Dr. Carrie DePasquale. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R01 HD075349 National Science Foundation (USA) National Institute of Mental Health T32 MH015755

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC

Keywords

  • cortisol awakening response
  • diurnal cortisol
  • early life stress
  • puberty
  • social support
  • stress

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