ERIC Number: EJ1025758
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
Does HPA-Axis Dysregulation Account for the Effects of Income on Effortful Control and Adjustment in Preschool Children?
Lengua, Liliana J.; Zalewski, Maureen; Fisher, Phil; Moran, Lyndsey
Infant and Child Development, v22 n5 p439-458 Sep-Oct 2013
The effects of low income on children's adjustment might be accounted for by disruptions to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis activity and to the development of effortful control. Using longitudinal data and a community sample of preschool-age children (N?=?306, 36-39?months) and their mothers, recruited to over-represent low-income families, we explored the associations among diurnal cortisol levels and effortful control, and we tested a model in which diurnal cortisol and effortful control account for the effects of family income on child adjustment. Continuous indicators of morning cortisol level and diurnal slope, as well as dichotomous indicators reflecting low morning levels and flat diurnal slope, were examined as predictors of rank-order changes in two dimensions of effortful control, executive control and delay ability. Low income was related to a flat diurnal cortisol slope, and above the effects of family income, a flat diurnal cortisol slope predicted lower social competence. Low morning cortisol level predicted smaller gains in executive control and higher total adjustment problems. Further, delay ability predicted lower adjustment problems above the effects of income and diurnal cortisol levels. The results suggest that HPA-axis dysregulation and effortful control contribute additively to children's adjustment.
Descriptors: Longitudinal Studies, Family Income, Physiology, Preschool Children, Low Income, Mothers, Stress Variables, Self Control, Correlation, Child Behavior, Adjustment (to Environment), Predictor Variables, Interpersonal Competence, Executive Function, Parent Child Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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