Objective: This study examined youth stressor reactivity in the form of links between daily stressors and adolescents' negative affect, physical health symptoms, and cortisol patterns. We also tested whether youth gender and parental warmth moderated these linkages. Method: Participants were the children of employees in the information technology division of a large company (N ± 132, mean age ± 13.39 years, 55% female). Youth completed daily diary telephone interviews on 8 consecutive evenings and provided saliva samples at 4 time points over 4 days to assess daily stressors and youth physiological and affective functioning. Parental warmth was assessed during in-home interviews. Multilevel modeling was used to account for interdependencies in the data. Results: Youth who experienced more daily stressors, on average, reported more negative affect and physical health symptoms, on average. Furthermore, on days youth reported more stressors than usual (compared to their own across-day average), they also exhibited more physical health symptoms, reduced evening cortisol decline (e.g., flatter slopes), higher bedtime cortisol, and more negative affect. Girls had stronger within-person linkages between daily stressors and daily negative affect than boys. Parental warmth moderated these within-person linkages: Youth who experienced more parental warmth had lower negative affect and steeper cortisol decline than usual on less stressful days. However, youth who experienced less parental warmth had higher negative affect and their cortisol levels declined less, even on days with lower-than-usual stress. Conclusions: Daily stressors are associated with youth's affective and physiological functioning, but parental warmth can support youth's stress recovery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health