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Prematurity and perinatal adversity effects hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to social evaluative threat in adulthood.

Authors
  • Sullivan, Mary C1
  • Winchester, Suzy B1
  • Bryce, Crystal I2, 3
  • Granger, Douglas A3, 4, 5
  • 1 College of Nursing, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island.
  • 2 The Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
  • 3 Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California.
  • 4 Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 5 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental Psychobiology
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2017
Volume
59
Issue
8
Pages
976–983
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/dev.21570
PMID: 29080326
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined the long-term effects of prematurity and perinatal adversity on individual differences in stress-related reactivity and regulation of the HPA axis. A prospective sample of 155 infants born preterm and healthy (n = 20), medical illness (n = 48), neurological illness (n = 26), and small for gestational age (n = 24) and full-term (n = 37) were recruited between 1985 and 1989. At age 23 years, multiple saliva samples were collected before and after participation in the Trier Social Stress Test and later assayed for cortisol. Results reveal that at age 23 years, infants born premature with neurological complications showed higher cortisol reactivity to social evaluative threat compared to either their full-term, small for gestation age, medically ill, or healthy preterm peers. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for contemporary theories that propose effects of early adversity on biological sensitivities and susceptibilities, which translate experience into developmental outcomes related to poor health and risk for disease.

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