Sex Differences in salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, and psychological functioning following Hurricane Katrina

Jacob M. Vigil, David C. Geary, Douglas A. Granger, Mark V. Flinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study examines group and individual differences in psychological functioning and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity among adolescents displaced by Hurricane Katrina and living in a U.S. government relocation camp (n = 62, ages 12-19 years) 2 months postdisaster. Levels of salivary cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase, depression, anxiety, distress, aggression, and self-esteem for this group were contrasted with a demographically matched no-trauma control group (n = 53). Results revealed that hurricane exposure and SNS activity moderated the relations between lower cortisol and higher internalizing behaviors. Sex-related differences were observed in behavioral adjustment and stress regulation. Implications of sex differences in biobehavioral adjustment to loss, displacement, and relocation are discussed in relation to evolutionary and developmental theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1240
Number of pages13
JournalChild development
Volume81
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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