Project: Research project

Project Details


The purpose of the proposal is to examine change in adrenal hormones at
adrenarche and how these changes relate to moods, health, and behavior in
children with premature adrenarche and on-time adrenarche. (Adrenarche
refers to maturation of the adrenal glands and an increase in its hormones
which occurs normally, at ages 6 to 8). There is a growing interest in
examining whether changes in pubertal hormones are related to affective
and behavioral changes in adolescents. Examining biobehavioral processes
prior to puberty may provide knowledge regarding potential risk or
protective factors that contribute to psychological development during
adolescence. This proposal serves as a pilot project for a future
longitudinal study designed to examine gender differences in biological
(adrenal & gonadal hormones) and psychosocial processes of prepubertal
children followed through into puberty. The cross sectional pilot study
proposed here, will be conducted in preparation for the longitudinal study
to: (1) test the feasibility of using the biological and psychological
measures, (2) determine the correlation between serum and saliva hormones,
(3) identify a trend for hormone-behavior relations to exist in
adrenarche, and (4) use the data to conduct power analyses to determine
the required sample size. Subjects include: 6-9 year old children seen for
evaluation of premature adrenarche (n = 12) and a matched comparison group
of healthy children (n = 20). Measures include: multiple serum and saliva
samples for adrenal androgens and cortisol, serum gonadal steroids and
thyroid hormones; and a physical exam for pubertal stage. Children will
complete interviews and psychological tests which examine anxiety,
depression, competence, and behavior problems. Parents will report on the
same concepts regarding their child. Data Analysis will include
descriptive statistics and measures of central tendency. Feasibility of
the study will be documented using such concepts as: length of time for
each measure, ease which the subject completes testing, number requiring
reading assistance, and group differences in ease of recruitment of
subjects. T-tests will examine whether there is a trend for group
differences in biological and behavioral variables in premature and on-
time adrenarche. The relations of serum to saliva hormones and the
relation of hormones and behavior will be examined with correlations.
Power analysis will be used to determine sample size for the longitudinal
Effective start/end date9/30/948/31/96


  • National Institute of Mental Health

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