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Diurnal cortisol levels, psychiatric symptoms and sense of coherence in abused adolescents
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping.
2010 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 64, no 1, 27-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background. The role of the HPA axis in psychiatric disorders following trauma is poorly studied and most studies have been done on adults. Aims. To investigate the association of mental well-being and diurnal cortisol in abused adolescents. Methods. The present crosssectional study examined diurnal salivary cortisol (measured three times a day during three days) in relation to psychiatric symptoms (Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Children) and the salutogenic construct “Sense of coherence”, in fifteen adolescents exposed to childhood abuse. Results. Significant positive correlations were found between symptoms and sense of coherence versus early and late morning cortisol concentrations. The correlations were most consistent for internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and somewhat less for post-traumatic symptoms and sense of coherence. In contrast, evening cortisol did not correlate with any of the psychological measures. Conclusion. These results extend previous research findings by pointing towards a relation between symptoms and higher morning cortisol and accentuated diurnal cortisol variation in abused adolescent as opposed to lower basal cortisol and a flattening of the cortisol rhythm repeatedly observed in traumatized adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 64, no 1, 27-31 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescents, Childhood Abuse, Cortisol, Psychiatric Symptoms, Sense of Coherence
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15683DOI: 10.3109/08039480903265314ISI: 000273780200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-15683DiVA: diva2:126935
Available from: 2008-11-26 Created: 2008-11-26 Last updated: 2015-05-11
In thesis
1. Psychosocial Stress, Mental Health and Salivary Cortisol in Children and Adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychosocial Stress, Mental Health and Salivary Cortisol in Children and Adolescents
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Stressful experiences and conditions in childhood influence the health and well-being of the growing individual, and can also confer a long-lasting impact into adult life. Delineating the social, mental and biological aspects of stress in children and adolescents is therefore of great concern for human beings. Despite these notions, much knowledge is lacking regarding stress in childhood.

This thesis aimed at examining diverse aspects of stress in children and adolescents: associations between social conditions, traumatic life events, mental health, and salivary cortisol as a measure of the activity of a major physiological stress system. Cross-sectional samples included two non-clinical samples of school-aged children (N=240-336) and adolescents (N =400), and two clinical samples of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (N =23) and adolescents who had experienced childhood abuse (N =15). Main measures were salivary cortisol sampled three times a day, and questionnaires to teachers, parents and children with questions about each child’s mental health, traumatic life events and about the socioeconomic situation of the parents.

The main findings include observation of 1) higher cortisol levels in children with a moderate level of psychosocial burden (low socioeconomic status, immigrant family, social impairment of mental health problems), 2) higher cortisol levels in children with OCD who also displayed a tendency to decreasing cortisol in the face of an acute stressor, and 3) cortisol was positively related to mental health problems in abused adolescents. Furthermore, the deleterious effect of 4) traumatic events involving a social dimension, interpersonal traumas, and 5) cumulative traumatic events, polytraumatization, on the mental health of children and adolescents was indicated.

The findings are discussed with respect to the complex interactions between social, mental and biological aspects of children and adolescents. The consequences of adverse experiences in childhood may represent pathways to future health problems. Consideration of the social circumstances in childhood might in the future guide public health policies and the identification of target groups for preventive interventions as well as leading to improvements in treatment for children exposed to severe stress.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 138 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1084
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15686 (URN)978-91-7393-776-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-12-03, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-11-26 Created: 2008-11-26 Last updated: 2009-08-21Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, Per E.Nelson, NinaGustafsson, Per A

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Child and Adolescent PsychiatryFaculty of Health SciencesPediatricsDepartment of Paediatrics in LinköpingDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping
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Nordic Journal of Psychiatry
Medical and Health Sciences

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