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Maternal Occupational Stress and Cortisol Production in Preschool and School Transitioning Children 1 Turner-Cobb, J.M., 1 Chryssanthopoulou, C.C., & 2.

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Presentation on theme: "Maternal Occupational Stress and Cortisol Production in Preschool and School Transitioning Children 1 Turner-Cobb, J.M., 1 Chryssanthopoulou, C.C., & 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maternal Occupational Stress and Cortisol Production in Preschool and School Transitioning Children 1 Turner-Cobb, J.M., 1 Chryssanthopoulou, C.C., & 2 Jessop, D. 1 Centre for Research in Health Behaviour, University of Kent; now at Department of Psychology, University of Bath, UK. 2 Research Centre for Neuroendocrinology, Bristol University, UK Aim: To investigate psychosocial influences, including maternal occupational stress, on hypothalamic-pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activity within a developmental framework. Hypotheses: 1. Greater cortisol reactivity in preschool children associated with characteristics of internalising child temperament, childcare, maternal well-being, poorer family relations, and maternal occupation; 2. Moderating influences would be observed between these characteristics; 3. Effects predicted longitudinally from T1 characteristics on T2 cortisol reactivity. Methods:  Salivary cortisol measured on awakening and 5-6pm in children Psychosocial questionnaires completed by mothers including  Child temperament (CBQ)  Family relations (FRI)  Maternal physical health -‘perceived health’ & symptoms (CHIPS)  Maternal Affect (PANAS)  Maternal well-being – job role quality (JRQS) & burnout (MBI) T1 Psychosocial Characteristics and T2 Cortisol Maternal physical well-being  Poorer perceived health, greater number of symptoms and negative affect associated with higher evening and total cortisol levels at T2[F2,37=4.01/3.47; p<.05] Child Temperament  Higher inhibitory control related to flatter diurnal cortisol decline (r =.34, p<.05)  Greater shyness related to steeper diurnal cortisol decline (r = -.34, p<.05) Maternal Occupational Status  Full time employment associated with higher PM and total child cortisol levels compared to part-time employed (p<.04) Time 1 Associations:  Time spent in preschool & cortisol indices ns  Awakening cortisol associated with poorer maternal job role quality (r = -.33, p<.05) & greater emotional exhaustion (r =.30, p<.05) in mother  Interaction effects: hours in preschool and maternal well being (job role quality & emotional exhaustion) on awakening cortisol (b=.42/-.36; p<.05) Cortisol Reactivity & School Transition at T2 N = 38 Started schoolRemain at Preschool N = 19 (48% of T1)N = 19 (41% of T1) T2 Child Cortisol as a Function of School Entry by T1 Maternal Job Role Quality Conclusions:  No direct relationship found between childcare and cortisol levels or diurnal change  Maternal job role quality & emotional exhaustion important factors in child’s experience of preschool as reflected in cortisol measures  Moderating effects found in relation to child temperament and maternal well-being  Longitudinal effects reveal importance of maternal job role quality on child’s physiological functioning particularly in response to school transition Table 1. Participants - Time 1 N = 56 mother-child dyads N%Mean (SD)Range Age (mths) (6.5)30-59 Girls Boys Hrs preschool /week21.6 (9.6) 8-40 Design: Longitudinal study, participants tested at baseline (T1) and 6 months later (T2) Results F 20.02; P<.001 Mean Differences in Evening & Total Cortisol Levels as a Function of T1 Maternal Physical Health Symptoms T2 Total Mean Levels of Cortisol by Maternal Occupational Status


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