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Exploring salivary cortisol and recurrent pain in mid-adolescents living in two homes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9010-8522
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
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2014 (English)In: BMC Psychology, E-ISSN 2050-7283, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 1-7, article id 46Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Each year, around 50.000 children in Sweden experience a separation between their parents. Joint physical custody (JPC), where the child alternates homes between the parents for about equal amount of time, has become a common living arrangement after parental separation. Children in two homes could benefit from everyday contact with both parents and access to both parents' financial resources. However, children could experience stress from being constantly moving and potentially exposed to parental conflicts. Still, studies on JPC and biological functioning related to stress, are lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate how living arrangements (intact family/JPC) relate to HPA-axis activity and recurrent pain in mid-adolescents.

METHODS: Mid-adolescents (106 girls and 51 boys) provided demographic details, self-reports of recurrent pain (headache, stomachache, neck/shoulder and back pain) and salivary samples. Salivary cortisol samples were collected: 1) immediately at awakening, 2) +30 minutes, 3) +60 minutes, and 4) at 8 p.m. The cortisol awakening response (CAR) was computed using an established formula. Additionally, the diurnal decline between the waking and 8 p.m. samples was computed.

RESULTS: Hierarchical multiple regressions showed that living arrangements (intact family/JPC) was not associated with morning cortisol (CAR), the diurnal cortisol decline or with recurrent pain. However, sex was a significant predictor of both cortisol measures and recurrent pain with girls exhibiting a higher cortisol awakening response and a greater diurnal decline value as well as reporting more recurrent pain than did boys.

CONCLUSIONS: Living arrangements were not associated with HPA-axis activity or recurrent pain in this group of well-functioning mid-adolescents. Although this study is the first to investigate how living arrangements relate to HPA-axis functioning and additional studies are needed, the tentative findings suggest that these mid-adolescents have adapted to their living arrangements and that other factors play a more pertinent role for HPA-functioning and subjective health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 2, no 1, p. 1-7, article id 46
Keywords [en]
HPA-axis activity, Cortisol, Mid-adolescence, Recurrent pain, Joint physical custody
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161846DOI: 10.1186/s40359-014-0046-zPubMedID: 25566390OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161846DiVA, id: diva2:1261710
Available from: 2018-11-08 Created: 2018-11-08 Last updated: 2018-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Fransson, EmmaBergström, MalinÖstberg, VivecaLindfors, Petra
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