Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children over time

Date:
January 21, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Given the importance of identifying risk factors for such diseases early in life, a new study looked at the relationship between low SES and cortisol in children over a 2-year period. The researchers hypothesized that living in a low SES environment would increase cortisol trajectories over time.

It's no surprise that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds may be at risk for numerous health problems in the future. Scientists speculate that these health problems, including increased risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse, arise from the physiological toll that the environment has on the children's bodies.

Previous research demonstrates a clear link between low socioeconomic status (SES) and body systems that regulate stress, specifically the HPA-axis, which produces the hormone cortisol. Overtime, higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol can lead to a number of psychiatric disorders and physical ailments, including, but not limited to, depression, PTSD, diabetes, and obesity.

Given the importance of identifying risk factors for such diseases early in life, a new study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, looked at the relationship between low SES and cortisol in children over a 2-year period. The researchers hypothesized that living in a low SES environment would increase cortisol trajectories over time.

Edith Chen from the University of British Columbia and colleagues measured cortisol in a group of children every 6 months for 2 years. They found that cortisol levels nearly doubled in low-SES compared with high-SES children over 2 years. "To the extent that cortisol plays a role in psychiatric and physical illnesses, these findings suggest a biological explanation for why low-SES children may be more vulnerable to developing these conditions later in life," says Chen. Furthermore, the rearchers found that the associations between SES and cortisol trajectories were most pronounced in postpubertal children as well as in girls.

Why would a child's socioeconomic status affect his or her cortisol profile over time? The researchers explain two psychosocial factors that account for the SES-biology links: Children from lower-SES backgrounds reported greater perceptions of threat and more family chaos, both of which may raise cortisol levels.

This study provides some of the first evidence demonstrating that low SES can alter biological profiles among children in a persistent fashion over time. Taken together, these findings may help explain and provide some first steps toward ameliorating low SES children's vulnerability to mental and physical illnesses in later life. "Health disparities are a pressing reality of our society. To begin to attempt to reduce SES disparities in health, we need to better understand the reasons why they exist," concludes Chen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children over time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119161805.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, January 21). Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children over time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119161805.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children over time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119161805.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins