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Diurnal cortisol levels, psychiatric symptoms and sense of coherence in abused adolescents.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
2010 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 64, no 1, 27-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background. The role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in psychiatric disorders following trauma is poorly studied and most studies have been done on adults. Aims. To investigate the association of mental well-being and diurnal cortisol in abused adolescents. Methods. The present cross-sectional study examined diurnal salivary cortisol (measured three times a day during three days) in relation to psychiatric symptoms (Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Children) and the salutogenic construct “sense of coherence”, in 15 adolescents exposed to childhood abuse. Results. Significant correlations were found between symptoms and sense of coherence versus early and late morning cortisol concentrations. The correlations were most consistent for internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and somewhat less for post-traumatic symptoms and sense of coherence. In contrast, evening cortisol did not correlate with any of the psychological measures. Conclusion. These results extend previous research findings by pointing towards a relation between symptoms and higher morning cortisol and accentuated diurnal cortisol variation in abused adolescent as opposed to lower basal cortisol and a flattening of the cortisol rhythm repeatedly observed in traumatized adults. Clinical implications. The pathophysiology of the impact of trauma on youth, including the impact on biological stress systems, are important for an understanding of the consequences of trauma and may serve as a basis for the development of new treatment options.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 64, no 1, 27-31 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescents, Childhood Abuse, Cortisol, Psychiatric Symptoms, Sense of coherence
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35239DOI: 10.3109/08039480903265314ISI: 000273780200005PubMedID: 20092377OAI: diva2:338125
Available from: 2010-08-10 Created: 2010-08-10 Last updated: 2010-08-16Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, Per E
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