Coupling of the HPA and HPG axes in the context of early life adversity in incarcerated male adolescents

Andrew R. Dismukes, Megan M. Johnson, Michael J Vitacco, Florencia Iturri, Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of early life adversity can be observed across the lifespan, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axes could be mechanistic intermediaries underlying this phenomenon. The current study examined 50 adolescent males aged 12-18 in a maximum-security correctional and treatment setting. Saliva samples were collected five times a day for 2 days and assayed for cortisol, testosterone, and DHEA. Youth completed semi-structured life stress interviews and self-reports of child maltreatment to index adversity. When youth had higher testosterone levels, they had higher cortisol and DHEA levels, indicating positive "coupling" of the HPA-HPG axes. In addition, children experiencing greater life adversity had tighter coupling of the HPA-HPG axes. Additional analyses hint that coupling may be driven largely by HPG axis functioning. Results indicate that positive coupling of the HPA-HPG axis is observed within incarcerated adolescents, especially for those with the greatest life stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-718
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Volume57
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

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Dehydroepiandrosterone
Psychological Stress
Hydrocortisone
Testosterone
Child Abuse
Saliva
Self Report
Interviews
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Cortisol
  • DHEA
  • Dual-axis
  • HLM
  • HPA
  • HPG
  • Stress
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Coupling of the HPA and HPG axes in the context of early life adversity in incarcerated male adolescents. / Dismukes, Andrew R.; Johnson, Megan M.; Vitacco, Michael J; Iturri, Florencia; Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A.

In: Developmental Psychobiology, Vol. 57, No. 6, 01.09.2015, p. 705-718.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dismukes, Andrew R. ; Johnson, Megan M. ; Vitacco, Michael J ; Iturri, Florencia ; Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A. / Coupling of the HPA and HPG axes in the context of early life adversity in incarcerated male adolescents. In: Developmental Psychobiology. 2015 ; Vol. 57, No. 6. pp. 705-718.
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