Cortisol reactivity is positively related to executive function in preschool children attending head start

Clancy Blair, Douglas Granger, Rachel Peters Razza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

229 Scopus citations


This study examined relations among cortisol reactivity and measures of cognitive function and social behavior in 4- to 5-year-old children (N = 169) attending Head Start. Saliva samples for the assay of cortisol were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of an approximately 45-min testing session. Moderate increase in cortisol followed by down-regulation of this increase was positively associated with measures of executive function, self-regulation, and letter knowledge but not with measures of receptive vocabulary, emotion knowledge, or false belief understanding. Regression analysis indicates that executive function accounted for the association between cortisol reactivity and self-regulation and letter knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-567
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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