Children's context inappropriate anger and salivary cortisol.
ABSTRACT Some children show emotion that is not consistent with normative appraisal of the context and can therefore be defined as context inappropriate (CI). The authors used individual growth curve modeling and hierarchical multiple regression analyses to examine whether CI anger predicts differences in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, as manifest in salivary cortisol measures. About 23% of the 360 children (ages 6-10 years, primarily 7-8) showed at least 1 expression of CI anger in situations designed to elicit positive affect. Expression of anger across 2 positive assessments was less common (around 4%). CI anger predicted the hypothesized lower levels of cortisol beyond that attributed to context appropriate anger. Boys' CI anger predicted lower morning cortisol and flatter slopes. Results suggest that this novel approach to studying children's emotion across varying contexts can provide insight into affective style.
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ABSTRACT: The relation of symptoms of conduct disorder (CD) and anxiety to salivary cortisol was explored in 67 clinic-referred boys aged 8 to 13 years. Children with anxiety disorder had higher levels of cortisol, but this main effect was qualified by a significant CD x anxiety disorder interaction. Consistent with Gray's biological model of the behavioral inhibition system (BIS), children with both CD and anxiety disorder had higher levels of salivary cortisol than children with CD without comorbid anxiety disorder. In the absence of CD, however, anxiety disorder was not clearly associated with higher cortisol. This result suggests that cortisol may be a useful biological marker of arousal associated with BIS activity in children with CD.Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 04/1991; 30(2):192-6. · 6.44 Impact Factor