Purpose: To use an ecological momentary assessment design to examine the links between momentary negative affect and cortisol in a sample of adolescents preparing to transition to college. Guided by a risk and resilience framework, we also explored whether important ecological factors, perceived discrimination and social support, moderated the momentary associations between negative affect and youths' cortisol. Methods: Adolescents (N = 77) provided salivary samples and diary reports of affect and experiences five times a day over 3 days. They also completed self-report questionnaires on perceived discrimination and social support from family and friends. Results: Within-person increases in momentary negative affect were associated with increases in cortisol. Perceived discrimination and social support from friends moderated this association. Adolescents who reported average and high levels of perceived discrimination experienced exaggerated cortisol responses to negative affect, whereas adolescents who reported low levels of perceived discrimination did not experience significant reactivity to negative affect. In contrast, adolescents who reported high levels of social support from friends experienced attenuated cortisol responses to negative affect compared with adolescents who reported average or low levels of social support from friends. Conclusions: This study contributes to our understanding of youths' daily socioemotional experiences and physiological reactivity by identifying how perceived discrimination and social support from friends amplified and attenuated, respectively, the effects of negative affect on cortisol reactivity. Examining these processes within adolescents' naturalistic environments advances our understanding of the moderating role of ecological characteristics in adolescents' everyday lives.
- Negative affect
- Perceived discrimination
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health