Navigation Links
Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children 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.


Contact: Catherine Allen-West
Association for Psychological Science

Related biology news :

1. Socioeconomic position associated with effectiveness of HIV drugs
2. First-ever socioeconomic study on coral reefs points to challenges of coastal resource management
3. People of higher socioeconomic status choose better diets -- but pay more per calorie
4. Sequella receives US and EU orphan drug status for SQ109 for the treatment of TB
5. Study identifies trends of vitamin B6 status in US population sample
6. Promptu and OAG Team to Deliver Flight Schedule and Status Information on Mobile Devices
7. U of Minnesota researcher finds link between aggression, status and sex
8. Chemistry professor 1 of only 3 at UH to achieve prestigious AAAS status
9. Hypertension among lower-status employees lingers well into retirement
10. Alert status area in brain discoved by Hebrew University scientists
11. Ambry Genetics Announces Certified Service Provider Status for Agilent Microarrays
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a ... solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring ... involved, it has secured the final acceptance by ... for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus ... to be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, ... employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that ... living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at ... New York City . The teams, ... at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. ... curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that Dr. Hays ... DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that Dr. Young ... DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings a wealth ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated ... will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 ... on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug ...
Breaking Biology Technology: