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Mother-child adrenocortical attunement in relation to behavioral sensitivity : a study of stress response in an at-risk sample

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Mother-child adrenocortical attunement in relation to behavioral sensitivity : a study of stress response in an at-risk sample

Ruttle, Paula L (2007) Mother-child adrenocortical attunement in relation to behavioral sensitivity : a study of stress response in an at-risk sample. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Synchronization of behavior, emotions and physiology in mother-child dyads appears to be related to adaptive functioning in children. While non-human research has repeatedly demonstrated synchrony (i.e. attunement) of mother and offspring physiological response to a stressful situation, only one study has examined this phenomenon in human dyads. The present study aimed to replicate the finding of mother-child adrenocortical attunement in a human population, as well as examine the relation between adrenocortical attunement and individual differences in behavioral sensitivity. Sixty-three mother-child dyads, participated in two home visits. The first visit included a mother-child interactive free-play task, used to measure mothers' and children's behavioral sensitivity; the second visit consisted of a child IQ test, included as a potentially stressful situation for both mother and child. Salivary cortisol samples were collected from mother and child before and after the IQ test. Results indicated the existence of mother-child adrenocortical attunement in reaction to a stressful situation. Further, attunement varied as a function of behavioral sensitivity (mother's, child's and dyad's behavioral sensitivity). Findings suggest that physiological attunement may co-exist with behavioral sensitivity in at-risk populations, and that child behavioral sensitivity and mother behavioral sensitivity are equally related to adrenocortical attunement. In conclusion, measures of behavioral sensitivity containing information on both partners may be more informative than measures based exclusively on one partner's behavior when examining dyadic interactions in relation to psychophysiological responses to stress

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Ruttle, Paula L
Pagination:viii, 57 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Serbin, Lisa
ID Code:975406
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:07
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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