Diurnal cortisol rhythms in youth from risky families: effects of cumulative risk exposure and variation in the serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) [corrected].

CJ Willner, PA Morris, DC McCoy, EK Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Building on research on cumulative risk and psychopathology, this study examines how cumulative risk exposure is associated with altered diurnal cortisol rhythms in an ethnically diverse, low-income sample of youth. In addition, consistent with a diathesis-stress perspective, this study explores whether the effect of environmental risk is moderated by allelic variation in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR). Results show that youth with greater cumulative risk exposure had flatter diurnal cortisol slopes, regardless of 5-HTTLPR genotype. However, the association of cumulative risk with average cortisol output (area under the curve [AUC]) was moderated by the 5-HTTLPR genotype. Among youth homozygous for the long allele, greater cumulative risk exposure was associated with lower cortisol AUC, driven by significant reductions in cortisol levels at waking. In contrast, there was a trend-level association between greater cumulative risk and higher cortisol AUC among youth carrying the short allele, driven by a trend-level increase in bedtime cortisol levels. Findings are discussed with regard to the relevance of dysregulated diurnal cortisol rhythms for the development of psychopathology and the implications of genetically mediated differences in psychophysiological adaptations to stress.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1019
Number of pages21
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume26
Issue number4 Pt 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Alleles
  • Allostasis genetics
  • Allostasis physiology
  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm genetics
  • Family psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone analysis
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System physiology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders genetics
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System physiology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic genetics
  • Poverty statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Saliva chemistry
  • Circadian Rhythm physiology
  • Hydrocortisone physiology
  • Mental Disorders etiology
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins genetics

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