The start of a new school year: Individual differences in salivary cortisol response in relation to child temperament

Elysia Poggi Davis, Bonny Donzella, William K. Krueger, Megan R. Gunnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations

Abstract

Noon and evening salivary cortisol levels were examined in 70 elementary school children during the 1st week of a new school year. Samples were obtained on the 1st and 5th days of school and on weekend days. Delta cortisol scores were created to measure the change in children's levels on initial school days relative to weekend days. Temperament was assessed using Rothbart's Child Behavior Questionnaire, a parent report instrument. The three dimensions of surgency or extroversion, negative affectivity, and effortful control were examined. Positive correlations were obtained with Day 1 delta cortisol for negative affectivity and Day 5 delta cortisol for surgency. Contrary to the expectation that internalizing aspects of temperament (shyness, fearfulness) would be associated with larger increases in cortisol to the novelty and challenge of a new school year, these data indicate that larger increases in cortisol were observed in more extroverted children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by a grant from the Joint Research Fund of the Hebrew University–Hadassah Faculty of Dental Medicine, founded by the Alpha Omega Fraternity and the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Keywords

  • Children
  • Cortisol
  • Temperament

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