Salivary Cortisol Mediates Effects of Poverty and Parenting on Executive Functions in Early Childhood

Clancy Blair, Douglas A. Granger, Michael Willoughby, Roger Mills-Koonce, Martha Cox, Mark T. Greenberg, Katie T. Kivlighan, Christine K. Fortunato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

302 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a predominantly low-income population-based longitudinal sample of 1,292 children followed from birth, higher level of salivary cortisol assessed at ages 7, 15, and 24months was uniquely associated with lower executive function ability and to a lesser extent IQ at age 3years. Measures of positive and negative aspects of parenting and household risk were also uniquely related to both executive functions and IQ. The effect of positive parenting on executive functions was partially mediated through cortisol. Typical or resting level of cortisol was increased in African American relative to White participants. In combination with positive and negative parenting and household risk, cortisol mediated effects of income-to-need, maternal education, and African American ethnicity on child cognitive ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1970-1984
Number of pages15
JournalChild development
Volume82
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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    Blair, C., Granger, D. A., Willoughby, M., Mills-Koonce, R., Cox, M., Greenberg, M. T., Kivlighan, K. T., & Fortunato, C. K. (2011). Salivary Cortisol Mediates Effects of Poverty and Parenting on Executive Functions in Early Childhood. Child development, 82(6), 1970-1984. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01643.x