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Chronic Stress and Adolescents' Mental Health: Modifying Effects of Basal Cortisol and Parental Psychiatric History. The TRAILS Study.

Zandstra AR, Hartman CA, Nederhof E, van den Heuvel ER, Dietrich A, Hoekstra PJ, Ormel J - J Abnorm Child Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: We conclude that the premise that basal cortisol indicates context sensitivity may be too crude.Context sensitivity may not be a general trait but may depend on the nature of the context (e.g., type or duration of stress exposure) and on the outcome of interest (e.g., internalizing vs. externalizing problems).Although consistent across informants, our findings need replication.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, A.R.E.Zandstra@rug.nl.

ABSTRACT
Large individual differences in adolescent mental health following chronic psychosocial stress suggest moderating factors. We examined two established moderators, basal cortisol and parental psychiatric history, simultaneously. We hypothesized that individuals with high basal cortisol, assumed to indicate high context sensitivity, would show relatively high problem levels following chronic stress, especially in the presence of parental psychiatric history. With Linear Mixed Models, we investigated the hypotheses in 1917 Dutch adolescents (53.2% boys), assessed at ages 11, 13.5, and 16. Low basal cortisol combined with the absence of a parental psychiatric history increased the risk of externalizing but not internalizing problems following chronic stress. Conversely, low basal cortisol combined with a substantial parental psychiatric history increased the risk of internalizing but not externalizing problems following chronic stress. Thus, parental psychiatric history moderated stress- cortisol interactions in predicting psychopathology, but in a different direction than hypothesized. We conclude that the premise that basal cortisol indicates context sensitivity may be too crude. Context sensitivity may not be a general trait but may depend on the nature of the context (e.g., type or duration of stress exposure) and on the outcome of interest (e.g., internalizing vs. externalizing problems). Although consistent across informants, our findings need replication.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Parent-reported (upper panel) and self-reported (lower panel) externalizing problem levels plotted for different levels of chronic stress and basal cortisol, and separately depicted for very severe PH (a) and no PH (b). Note. PH Parental history severity, EXTadj Externalizing problems adjusted for internalizing problems. Levels of chronic stress refer to the number of long-term difficulties at T2. Low, average, and high cortisol (−1SD, M, and +1SD) correspond to 6.15, 10.87, and 15.60 nmol/L, respectively
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Fig1: Parent-reported (upper panel) and self-reported (lower panel) externalizing problem levels plotted for different levels of chronic stress and basal cortisol, and separately depicted for very severe PH (a) and no PH (b). Note. PH Parental history severity, EXTadj Externalizing problems adjusted for internalizing problems. Levels of chronic stress refer to the number of long-term difficulties at T2. Low, average, and high cortisol (−1SD, M, and +1SD) correspond to 6.15, 10.87, and 15.60 nmol/L, respectively

Mentions: We did however find significant interaction effects in predicting EXTadj as well as INTadj problems. Both parent-reported and self-reported EXTadj problems were significantly predicted by a three-way interaction of PH severity, squared basal cortisol, and chronic stress, p = 0.018 and 0.019, respectively (Table 3). We plotted EXTadj levels for low, average, high, and very high levels of the truncated chronic stress variable (corresponding to 0, 1, 2, and 3 or more long-term difficulties at T2, respectively) and low, average, and high basal cortisol (−SD, M, and +1SD, corresponding to 6.15, 10.87, and 15.60 nmol/L), separately for the two extremes of the PH severity distribution; very severe PH versus no PH. Figure 1 shows comparable patterns for parent-reported EXTadj (upper panel) and self-reported EXTadj (lower panel). In adolescents with very severe PH (a) low basal cortisol attenuated the association between chronic stress and EXTadj levels, whereas high basal cortisol somewhat enhanced the association between chronic stress and parent-reported but not self-reported EXTadj levels.Table 3


Chronic Stress and Adolescents' Mental Health: Modifying Effects of Basal Cortisol and Parental Psychiatric History. The TRAILS Study.

Zandstra AR, Hartman CA, Nederhof E, van den Heuvel ER, Dietrich A, Hoekstra PJ, Ormel J - J Abnorm Child Psychol (2015)

Parent-reported (upper panel) and self-reported (lower panel) externalizing problem levels plotted for different levels of chronic stress and basal cortisol, and separately depicted for very severe PH (a) and no PH (b). Note. PH Parental history severity, EXTadj Externalizing problems adjusted for internalizing problems. Levels of chronic stress refer to the number of long-term difficulties at T2. Low, average, and high cortisol (−1SD, M, and +1SD) correspond to 6.15, 10.87, and 15.60 nmol/L, respectively
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494132&req=5

Fig1: Parent-reported (upper panel) and self-reported (lower panel) externalizing problem levels plotted for different levels of chronic stress and basal cortisol, and separately depicted for very severe PH (a) and no PH (b). Note. PH Parental history severity, EXTadj Externalizing problems adjusted for internalizing problems. Levels of chronic stress refer to the number of long-term difficulties at T2. Low, average, and high cortisol (−1SD, M, and +1SD) correspond to 6.15, 10.87, and 15.60 nmol/L, respectively
Mentions: We did however find significant interaction effects in predicting EXTadj as well as INTadj problems. Both parent-reported and self-reported EXTadj problems were significantly predicted by a three-way interaction of PH severity, squared basal cortisol, and chronic stress, p = 0.018 and 0.019, respectively (Table 3). We plotted EXTadj levels for low, average, high, and very high levels of the truncated chronic stress variable (corresponding to 0, 1, 2, and 3 or more long-term difficulties at T2, respectively) and low, average, and high basal cortisol (−SD, M, and +1SD, corresponding to 6.15, 10.87, and 15.60 nmol/L), separately for the two extremes of the PH severity distribution; very severe PH versus no PH. Figure 1 shows comparable patterns for parent-reported EXTadj (upper panel) and self-reported EXTadj (lower panel). In adolescents with very severe PH (a) low basal cortisol attenuated the association between chronic stress and EXTadj levels, whereas high basal cortisol somewhat enhanced the association between chronic stress and parent-reported but not self-reported EXTadj levels.Table 3

Bottom Line: We conclude that the premise that basal cortisol indicates context sensitivity may be too crude.Context sensitivity may not be a general trait but may depend on the nature of the context (e.g., type or duration of stress exposure) and on the outcome of interest (e.g., internalizing vs. externalizing problems).Although consistent across informants, our findings need replication.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, A.R.E.Zandstra@rug.nl.

ABSTRACT
Large individual differences in adolescent mental health following chronic psychosocial stress suggest moderating factors. We examined two established moderators, basal cortisol and parental psychiatric history, simultaneously. We hypothesized that individuals with high basal cortisol, assumed to indicate high context sensitivity, would show relatively high problem levels following chronic stress, especially in the presence of parental psychiatric history. With Linear Mixed Models, we investigated the hypotheses in 1917 Dutch adolescents (53.2% boys), assessed at ages 11, 13.5, and 16. Low basal cortisol combined with the absence of a parental psychiatric history increased the risk of externalizing but not internalizing problems following chronic stress. Conversely, low basal cortisol combined with a substantial parental psychiatric history increased the risk of internalizing but not externalizing problems following chronic stress. Thus, parental psychiatric history moderated stress- cortisol interactions in predicting psychopathology, but in a different direction than hypothesized. We conclude that the premise that basal cortisol indicates context sensitivity may be too crude. Context sensitivity may not be a general trait but may depend on the nature of the context (e.g., type or duration of stress exposure) and on the outcome of interest (e.g., internalizing vs. externalizing problems). Although consistent across informants, our findings need replication.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus