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 study.
Effective start/end date9/30/948/31/96


  • National Institute of Mental Health


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