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Childhood Parental Loss and Adult Hypothalamic-Pituitary- Adrenal Function

Show simple item record Tyrka, Audrey R. Wier, Lauren Price, Lawrence H Ross, Nicole Anderson, George M. Wilkinson, Charles W. Carpenter, Linda L. 2011-11-22T21:26:39Z 2011-11-22T21:26:39Z 2008-06-15
dc.description.abstract Background—Several decades of research link childhood parental loss with risk for major depression and other forms of psychopathology. A large body of preclinical work on maternal separation and some recent studies of humans with childhood parental loss have demonstrated alterations of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function which could predispose to the development of psychiatric disorders. Methods—Eighty-eight healthy adults with no current Axis I psychiatric disorder participated in this study. Forty-four participants experienced parental loss during childhood, including 19 with a history of parental death and 25 with a history of prolonged parental separation. The loss group was compared to a matched group of individuals who reported no history of childhood parental separation or childhood maltreatment. Participants completed diagnostic interviews and questionnaires and the dexamethasone/corticotropin-releasing hormone (Dex/CRH) test. Repeated measures general linear models were used to test the effects of parental loss, a measure of parental care, sex, and age on the hormone responses to the Dex/CRH test.Results—Parental loss was associated with increased cortisol responses to the test, particularly in males. The effect of loss was moderated by levels of parental care; participants with parental desertion and very low levels of care had attenuated cortisol responses. ACTH responses to the Dex/CRH test did not differ significantly as a function of parental loss. Conclusions—These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that early parental loss induces enduring changes in neuroendocrine function. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Biol. Psychiatry en_US
dc.subject childhood parental loss en_US
dc.subject parental death en_US
dc.subject depression en_US
dc.subject cortisol en_US
dc.subject HPA axis en_US
dc.title Childhood Parental Loss and Adult Hypothalamic-Pituitary- Adrenal Function en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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