Jun 1, 1996

Dampening of adrenocortical responses during infancy: normative changes and individual differences

Child Development
M R GunnarJ Rigatuso


Changes in cortisol and behavioral responses were examined longitudinally in 83 infants (39 girls, 44 boys) tested at their well-baby exams with inoculations at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months (72 infants completed all testing). Another sample of 2-, 4-, and 6-month-olds (n = 18 per age) received mock exams without inoculations to determine early developmental changes to the exam procedures. Behavioral distress was coded every 30 sec during the exam, a 5-min inoculation period, and a 20-min recovery period. Salivary cortisol was obtained upon arrival at the clinic and 25 min after the beginning of the inoculation period. To the exam-inoculation procedures, cortisol responses were high at 2 months, decreased significantly between 2 and 4 months, remained comparable between 4 and 6 months, and then declined again between 6 and 15 months. Between 6 and 15 months there was also a decrease in pretest cortisol. By 15 months, significant increases in cortisol from pre- to posttest were no longer observed for most infants. To the exam-only procedures, cortisol responses decreased between 2 and 4 months, and by 4 months most infants failed to show pre- to posttest increases in cortisol. Behavioral distress decreased between 2 and 6 months, but i...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Vigilance, Cortical
Mental Disorders
Circadian Rhythm Pathway Kegg
Physical Examinations and Diagnoses
Cortisol Measurement
Adrenal Cortex
Hydrocortisone, (9 beta,10 alpha,11 alpha)-Isomer

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