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Child Dev. 2014 Mar-Apr;85(2):501-12. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12136. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Stress-induced elevation of oxytocin in maltreated children: evolution, neurodevelopment, and social behavior.

Author information

1
University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Abstract

Child maltreatment often has a negative impact on the development of social behavior and health. The biobehavioral mechanisms through which these adverse outcomes emerge, however, are not clear. To better understand the ways in which early life adversity affects subsequent social behavior, changes in the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) in children (n = 73) aged 8.1-11.5 years following a laboratory stressor were examined. Girls with histories of physical abuse have higher levels of urinary OT and lower levels of salivary cortisol following the stressor when compared to controls. Abused and control boys, however, do not differ in their hormonal responses. These data suggest that early adversity may disrupt the development of the stress regulation system in girls by middle childhood.

PMID:
23865588
PMCID:
PMC4127329
DOI:
10.1111/cdev.12136
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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