The confluence of adverse early experience and puberty on the cortisol awakening response

Karina Quevedo, Anna E. Johnson, Michelle L. Loman, Theresa L. Lafavor, Megan R Gunnar

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60 Scopus citations


Associations between early deprivation/neglect in the form of institutional care with the cortisol awakening response (CAR) were examined as a function of pubertal status among 12-and 13-year-old postinstitutionalized youth. CARs indexed hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenocortical reactivity. Postinstitutionalized youth were compared to youth adopted internationally from foster care (adoption control) and to nonadopted youth reared in families comparable in parental education and income to the adoptive families. Postinstitutionalized youth exhibited a blunted CAR if they were at earlier, but not if they were at later, stages of puberty. Similarly, for both groups of internationally adopted youth combined, earlier but not later stages of puberty were associated with more blunted CARs at higher but not lower levels of parent-reported preadoption physical and social neglect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Cortisol awakening response
  • Emotional neglect
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis
  • Institutional care
  • Physical neglect
  • Puberty

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