Stress Neurobiology and Developmental Psychopathology

Megan R. Gunnar, Delia Vazquez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

155 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the current state of knowledge regarding the developmental neurobiology of stress, its relation to psychiatric disorders, and the impact of early adverse experiences on stress vulnerability and resilience. It focuses on studies of the limbic-hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenocortical (LHPA) system, a critical system fostering both resilience and vulnerability to stress in animals and humans. The chapter discusses the complex, multifactorial regulation of the LHPA system, and clarifies why testing theory- driven predictions requires probing levels of the axis above the adrenal, up to and including corticolimbic pathways into the LHPA system. The long history of research presented here demonstrates that many of the important impacts of early experiences are likely operating at levels above the pituitary. The monkey studies challenge us to understand and integrate the impact of early experiences on corticolimbic stress and emotion regulatory pathways into the neuroendocrine early experience story.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopmental Neuroscience
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Ltd.
Number of pages45
ISBN (Electronic)9780470939390
ISBN (Print)047123737X, 9780471237372
StatePublished - Sep 6 2015


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Disruptive behavior disorders
  • Mature limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system
  • Monkey infant studies
  • Nonhuman primate studies
  • Rodent studies
  • Stress neurobiology
  • Stress reactivity
  • Stress regulation


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