Skip to main content
×
Home

Allostasis and allostatic load in the context of poverty in early childhood

  • Clancy Blair (a1), C. Cybele Raver (a1), Douglas Granger (a2), Roger Mills-Koonce (a3), Leah Hibel (a4) and The Family Life Project Key Investigators (a2) (a3)...
Abstract
Abstract

This paper examined the relation of early environmental adversity associated with poverty to child resting or basal level of cortisol in a prospective longitudinal sample of 1135 children seen at 7, 15, 24, 35, and 48 months of age. We found main effects for poor housing quality, African American ethnicity, and low positive caregiving behavior in which each was uniquely associated with an overall higher level of cortisol from age 7 to 48 months. We also found that two aspects of the early environment in the context of poverty, adult exits from the home and perceived economic insufficiency, were related to salivary cortisol in a time-dependent manner. The effect for the first of these, exits from the home, was consistent with the principle of allostatic load in which the effects of adversity on stress physiology accumulate over time. The effect for perceived economic insufficiency was one in which insufficiency was associated with higher levels of cortisol in infancy but with a typical but steeper decline in cortisol with age at subsequent time points.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Clancy Blair, 246 Greene Street, Kimball Hall, 8th floor, New York, NY 10003; E-mail:clancy.blair@nyu.edu.
References
Hide All
Arnsten A. F., & Li B. M. (2005). Neurobiology of executive functions: Catecholamine influences on prefrontal cortical functions. Biological Psychiatry, 57, 13771384.
Bayley N. (1969). Manual for Bayley Scales of Infant Development. New York: Psychological Corporation.
Belsky J. (1997). Theory testing, effect-size evaluation, and differential susceptibility to rearing influence: The case of mothering and attachment. Child Development, 68, 598600.
Belsky J., & Pluess M. (2009). Beyond diathesis stress: Differential susceptibility to environmental influences. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 885908.
Blair C. (2010). Stress and the development of self-regulation in context. Child Development Perspectives, 4, 181188.
Blair C., & Diamond A. (2008). Biological processes in prevention and intervention: The promotion of self-regulation as a means of preventing school failure. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 899911.
Blair C., Granger D., Willoughby M., Mills-Koonce R., Cox M., Greenberg M. T., et al. (in press). Salivary cortisol mediates effects of poverty and parenting on executive functions in early childhood. Child Development.
Blair C., Granger D. A., Kivlighan K. T., Mills-Koonce R., Willoughby M., Greenberg M.T., et al. (2008). Maternal and child contributions to cortisol response to emotional arousal in young children from low-income, rural communities. Developmental Psychology, 44, 10951109.
Bradley R. H., & Corwyn R. F. (2002). Socioeconomic status and child development. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 371399.
Brooks-Gunn J., & Duncan G. (1994). Economic deprivation and early childhood development. Child Development, 65, 296318.
Buckner J. C., Mezzacappa E., & Beardslee W. R. (2003). Characteristics of resilient youths living in poverty: The role of self-regulatory processes. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 139162.
Cameron N. M., Champagne F. A., Parent C., Fish E. W., Ozaki-Kuroda K., & Meaney M. J. (2005). The programming of individual differences in defensive responses and reproductive strategies in the rat through variations in maternal care. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 29, 843865.
Cerqueira J. J., Mailliet F., Almeida O. F., Jay T. M., & Sousa N. (2007). The prefrontal cortex as a key target of the maladaptive response to stress. Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 27812787.
Cicchetti D., & Rogosch F. A. (2009). Adaptive coping under conditions of extreme stress: Multilevel influences on the determinants of resilience in maltreated children. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2009, 4759.
Conger R. D., & Elder G. H. (1994). Families in troubled times: Adapting to change in rural America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Cox M., Paley B., Burchinal M., & Payne C. (1999). Marital perceptions and interactions across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 611625.
Cummings E. M., El-Sheikh M., Kouros C. D., & Buckhalt J. A. (2009). Children and violence: The role of children's regulation in the marital aggression–child adjustment link. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 12, 315.
Curtis W. J., & Cicchetti D. (2003). Moving research on resilience into the 21st century: Theoretical and methodological considerations in examining the biological contributors to resilience. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 773810.
Diamond D. M., Campbell A. M., Park C. R., Halonen J., & Zoladz P. R. (2007). The temporal dynamics model of emotional memory processing: A synthesis on the neurobiological basis of stress-induced amnesia, flashbulb and traumatic memories, and the Yerkes–Dodson law. Neural Plasticity, 2007, 60803.
Eamon M. K., Wu C., & Zhang S. (2009). Effectiveness and limitations of the earned income tax credit for reducing child poverty in the United States. Children and Youth Services Review, 131, 919926.
Evans G. W. (2003). A multimethodological analysis of cumulative risk and allostatic load among rural children. Developmental Psychology, 39, 924933.
Evans G. W., Kim P., Ting A. H., Tesher H. B., & Shannis D. (2007). Cumulative risk, maternal responsiveness, and allostatic load among young adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 43, 341351.
Evans G. W., & Schamberg M. A. (2009). Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106, 65456549.
Fernald L. C., & Gunnar M. R. (2009). Poverty-alleviation program participation and salivary cortisol in very low-income children. Social Science & Medicine, 68, 21802189.
Fisher P. A., Gunnar M. R., Chamberlain P., & Reid J. B. (2000). Preventive intervention for maltreated preschool children: Impact on children's behavior, neuroendocrine activity, and foster parent functioning. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 13561364.
Fisher P. A., Stoolmiller M., Gunnar M. R., & Burraston B. O. (2007). Effects of a therapeutic intervention for foster preschoolers on diurnal cortisol activity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 32, 892905.
Granger D. A., Kivlighan K. T., Fortunato C., Harmon A. G., Hibel L. C., Schwartz E. B., et al. (2007). Integration of salivary biomarkers into developmental and behaviorally-oriented research: Problems and solutions for collecting specimens. Physiology & Behavior, 92, 583590.
Gunnar M., & Vazquez D. (2006). Stress neurobiology and developmental psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Vol. 2. Developmental neuroscience (2nd ed., pp. 533–577). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Gunnar M. R., & Donzella B. (2002). Social regulation of the cortisol levels in early human development. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27, 199220.
Gunnar M. R., Frenn K., Wewerka S. S., & Van Ryzin M. J. (2009). Moderate versus severe early life stress: Associations with stress reactivity and regulation in 10–12-year-old children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 6275.
Halligan S. L., Herbert J., Goodyer I. M., & Murray L. (2004). Exposure to postnatal depression predicts elevated cortisol in adolescent offspring. Biological Psychiatry, 55, 376381.
Harmon A. G., Hibel L. C., Rumyantseva O., & Granger D. A. (2007). Measuring salivary cortisol in studies of child development: Watch out—what goes in may not come out of saliva collection devices. Developmental Psychobiology, 49, 495500.
Hart B., & Risley T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Hibel L. C., Granger D. A., Kivlighan K. T., Blair C., & the Family Life Project Investigators (2006). Individual differences in salivary cortisol: Relation to common over-the-counter and prescription medications in infants and their mothers. Hormones and Behavior, 50, 293300.
Kuzawa C. W., & Sweet E. (2009). Epigenetics and the embodiment of race: Developmental origins of US racial disparities in cardiovascular health. American Journal of Human Biology, 21, 215.
Landry S. H., Smith K. E., & Swank P. R. (2006). Responsive parenting: Establishing early foundations for social, communication, and independent problem-solving skills. Developmental Psychology, 42, 627642.
Lopez-Duran N., Kovacs M., & George C. (2009). Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis dysregulation in depressed children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 12721283.
Lu M. C., & Halfon N. (2003). Racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes: A life-course perspective. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 7, 1330.
Lupien S. J., King S., Meaney M. J., & McEwen B. S. (2000). Child's stress hormone levels correlate with mother's socioeconomic status and depressive state. Biological Psychiatry, 48, 976980.
McEwen B. S. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine, 338, 171179.
McEwen B. S. (2000). The neurobiology of stress: From serendipity to clinical relevance. Brain Research, 886, 172189.
McEwen B. S. (2008). Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. European Journal of Pharmacology, 583, 174185.
McEwen B. S., & Wingfield J. C. (2003). The concept of allostasis in biology and biomedicine. Hormones and Behavior, 43, 215.
McLoyd V. C. (1998). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist, 53, 185204.
Meaney M. J. (2001). Maternal care, gene expression, and the transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity across generations. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24, 1161.
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (1999). Chronicity of maternal depressive symptoms, maternal sensitivity, and child functioning at 36 months. Developmental Psychology, 35, 12971310.
Porges S. (2001). The polyvagal theory: Phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 42, 123146.
Repetti R. L., Taylor S. E., & Seeman T. E. (2002). Risky families: Family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 330366.
Shirtcliff E., & Essex M. (2008). Concurrent and longitudinal associations of basal and diurnal cortisol with mental health symptoms in early adolescence. Developmental Psychobiology, 50, 690703.
Shonkoff J. P., Boyce W. T., & McEwen B. S. (2009). Neuroscience, molecular biology, and the childhood roots of health disparities: Building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. Journal of the American Medical Association, 301, 22522259.
Stifter C., & Corey J. (2001). Vagal regulation and observed social behavior in infancy. Social Development, 10, 189201.
Stifter C. A., & Braungart J. M. (1995). The regulation of negative reactivity in infancy: Function and development. Developmental Psychology, 31, 448455.
Tarullo A. R., & Gunnar M. R. (2006). Child maltreatment and the developing HPA axis. Hormones and Behavior, 50, 632639.
Yuen E. Y., Liu W., Karatsoreos I. N., Feng J., McEwen B. S., & Yan Z. (2009). Acute stress enhances glutamatergic transmission in prefrontal cortex and facilitates working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106, 1407514079.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 15
Total number of PDF views: 203 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 660 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 12th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.