Child depressive symptoms: Associations with salivary cortisol and alpha amylase in two distinct challenges
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Child depression has been inconsistency linked to cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) reactivity. This study assessed three factors that contribute to inconsistencies: 1) the differential effectiveness of laboratory challenges to elicit cortisol and sAA; 2) the impact of cortisol-sAA coordination; and 3) variation in parent versus child ratings of depression. A community sample of 52 children participated in the Trier Social Stress Test-Child Version (TSST-C) and a competition challenge. Saliva was collected and assayed for cortisol and sAA. Analyses were conducted using multilevel modeling. Child-reported depressive symptoms were associated with a declining cortisol trajectory in the TSST-C. Mother-reported depressive symptoms were associated with higher baseline sAA in the TSST-C and the competition challenge. Further, child-reported depressive symptoms were associated with cortisol-sAA coordination in the competition challenge. Findings underscore the nature of the challenge and the behavioral informant as impacting associations between child depressive symptoms and cortisol and sAA secretion.
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