Research on the stress hormone cortisol has led experts to recommend early intervention for childhood behavioral problems.
Scientists have known that cortisol influences behavior in children, but the association between cortisol and behavioral problems has been paradoxical. For example, some youngsters with behavioral problems have abnormally high levels of cortisol, while others with identical problems have abnormally low levels.Psychological scientists at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and the Centre for Research in Human Development believe they may have resolved the cortisol paradox. In a paper published in the journal Hormones and Behavior they linked cortisol levels not simply to behavior problems, but to the length of time individuals have experienced behavior problems.“We studied the relationship between cortisol levels in young people with problematic behavior such as aggression or depression, and the length of time since the onset of these behaviors,” said doctoral student and lead author Paula Ruttle. “Cortisol levels were abnormally high around the time problem behaviors began, but abnormally low when they had been present for a long time.”
Source: Concordia University