Prevention Science

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 40–49 | Cite as

Cortisol Patterns for Young Children Displaying Disruptive Behavior: Links to a Teacher-Child, Relationship-Focused Intervention

Article

Abstract

Supportive and close relationships that young children have with teachers have lasting effects on children’s behavior and academic success, and this is particularly true for children with challenging behaviors. These relationships are also important for children’s developing stress response system, and children in child care may be more likely to display atypical cortisol patterns at child care. However, warm, supportive relationships with teachers may buffer these negative effects of child care. While many relationship-focused early childhood interventions demonstrate changes in child behavior, associations with children’s stress response system are unknown. This study assessed children’s activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis via salivary cortisol as a function of their participation in a dyadic intervention intended to improve a teacher’s interaction quality with a particular child. Seventy teachers and 113 preschool children participated who were part of a larger study of teachers and children were randomly assigned at the classroom level across three intervention conditions: Banking Time, Time-Control Comparison (Child Time), and Business-as-Usual. At the end of the school year, children in the Banking Time condition displayed a significantly greater decline in cortisol across the morning during preschool compared to children in Business-as-Usual condition. These pilot results are among the first to provide preliminary evidence that school-based interventions that promote sensitive and responsive interactions may improve young children’s activity in the stress response system within the child care/early education context.

Keywords

Cortisol Teacher-child relationships Preschool Socioemotional interventions Disruptive behaviors 

References

  1. Alink, L. R. A., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Mesman, J., Juffer, F., & Koot, H. M. (2008). Cortisol and externalizing behavior in children and adolescents: Mixed meta-analytic evidence for the inverse relation of basal cortisol and cortisol reactivity with externalizing behavior. Developmental Psychobiology, 50, 427–450.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, J. A., Grant, S., & Morlock, L. (2008). The teacher-student relationship as a developmental context for children with internalizing or externalizing behavioral problems. School Psychology Quarterly, 23, 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blair, C. (2002). School readiness: Integrating cognition and emotion in a neurobiological conceptualization of child functioning at school entry. American Psychologist, 57, 111–127.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bohus, B., de Kloet, E. R., & Veldhuis, H. D. (1982). Adrenal steroids and behavioral adaptation: Relationship to brain corticoid receptors. In D. Granten & D. W. Pfaff (Eds.), Current topics in neuroendocrinology (pp. 107–148). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Bugental, D. B., Schwartz, A., & Lynch, C. (2010). Effects of an early family intervention on children’s memory: The mediating effects of cortisol levels. Mind, Brain, and Education, 4, 159–170. doi:10.1111/j.1751-228X.2010.01095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Charmandari, E., Tsigos, C., & Chrousos, G. (2005). Endocrinology of the stress response. Annual Review of Physiology, 67, 259–284.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  9. Dettling, A. C., Parker, S. W., Lane, S., Sebanc, A., & Gunnar, M. R. (2000). Quality of care and temperament determine changes in cortisol concentrations over the day for young children in childcare. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 25, 819–836.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Dozier, M., Peloso, E., Lewis, E., Laurenceau, J. P., & Levine, S. (2008). Effects of an attachment-based intervention on the cortisol production of infants and toddlers in foster care. Developmental Psychopathology, 20, 845–859. doi:10.1017/S0954579408000400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Driscoll, K., & Pianta, R. (2010). Banking Time in head start: Early efficacy of an intervention designed to promote supportive teacher-child relationships. Early Education and Development, 21, 38–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Driscoll, K. C., Wang, L., Mashburn, A. J., & Pianta, R. C. (2011). Fostering supportive teacher-child relationships: Intervention implementation in a state-funded preschool program. Early Education and Development, 22, 593–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DuPaul, G. J., Power, T. J., Anastopoulos, A. D., & Reid, R. (1998). ADHD Rating Scale—IV: Checklists, norms, and clinical interpretation. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied missing data analysis. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  15. Enders, C. K., & Bandalos, D. L. (2001). The relative performance of full information maximum likelihood estimation for missing data in structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 8, 430–457. doi:10.1207/S15328007SEM0803_5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gilliam, W.S. (2005). Prekindergarteners left behind: Expulsion rates in state prekindergarten programs. Foundation for Child Development, Policy Brief Series No. 3. Retrieved from http://fcd-us.org/resources/prekindergartners-left-behind-expulsion-rates-state-prekindergarten-programs
  17. Granger, D.A., Kivlighan, K.T., Blair, C., El-Sheikh, M., Mize, J., Lisonbee, J.A.,… Schwartz, E.B. (2006). Integrating the measurement of salivary alpha-amylase into studies of child health, development, and social relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23, 267 290Google Scholar
  18. Groeneveld, M. G., Vermeer, H. J., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Linting, M. (2010). Children’s wellbeing and cortisol levels in home-based and center-based childcare. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25, 502–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gunnar, M. R., & Donzella, B. (2002). Social regulation of the cortisol levels in early human development. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27, 199–220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Gunnar, M., & Quevedo, K. (2007). The neurobiology of stress and development. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 145–173.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Gunnar, M. R., Kryzer, E., Van Ryzin, M. J., & Phillips, D. A. (2010). The rise in cortisol in family day care: Associations with aspects of care quality, child behavior, and child sex. Child Development, 81, 851–869. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01438.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development, 72, 625–638.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hatfield, B. E., Hestenes, L. L., Kintner-Duffy, V. L., & O’Brien, M. (2013). Classroom emotional support predicts differences in preschool children’s cortisol and alpha-amylase levels. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28, 347–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hommersen, P., Murray, C., Ohan, J. L., & Johnston, C. (2006). Oppositional defiant disorder rating scale: Preliminary evidence of reliability and validity. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14, 118–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Howes, C. (2000). Social-emotional classroom climate in child care, child–teacher relationships and children’s second grade peer relations. Social Development, 9, 191–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Laughlin, L. (2013). Who’s minding the kids? Child care arrangements: Spring 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.census.gov/library/publications/2013/demo/p70-135.html
  27. Miner, J. L., & Clarke-Stewart, A. K. (2008). Trajectories of externalizing behavior from age 2 to age 9: Relations with gender, temperament, ethnicity, parenting, and rater. Developmental Psychology, 44, 771–786. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.44.3.771.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Mize, J., Lisonbee, J., Granger, D.A. (2005). Stress in child care: Cortisol and alpha-amylase may reflect different components of the stress response. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
  29. Morris, P., Mattera, S.K., Castells, N., Bangser, M., Bierman, K., Raver, C. (2014). Impact findings from the Head Start CARES demonstration: National evaluation of three approaches to improving preschoolers’ social and emotional competence. OPRE Report 2014-44. Washington, DC: OPRE, ACF, USDHHSGoogle Scholar
  30. Murnane, R. J., & Willett, J. B. (2011). Methods matter: Improving causal inference in educational and social science research. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Muthén, B., & Satorra, A. (1995). Complex sample data in structural equation modeling. Sociological Methodology, 25, 267–316. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27107.
  32. Muthén, L.K., Muthén, B.O. (1998–2010). Mplus user’s guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & MuthénGoogle Scholar
  33. Oberlander, T. F., Weinberg, J., Papsdorf, M., Grunau, R., Misri, S., & Devlin, A. M. (2008). Prenatal exposure to maternal depression, neonatal methylation of human glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) and infant cortisol stress responses. Epigenetics, 3, 97–106.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Palacios, R., & Sugawara, I. (1982). Hydrocortisone abrogates proliferation of T cells in autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction by rendering the interleukin-2 producer T cells unresponsive to interleukin-1 and unable to synthesize the T-cell growth factor. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, 15, 25–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Pianta, R. C., & Hamre, B. K. (2001). Banking Time: Pre-K manual. Charlottesville, VA: The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.lookconsultation.org/resources/BankingTime-Resource1.pdf.
  36. Romeo, R. D., & McEwen, B. S. (2006). Stress and the adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1094, 202–214. doi:10.1196/annals.1376.022.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Shirtcliff, E. A., Granger, D. A., Booth, A., & Johnson, D. (2005). Low salivary cortisol levels and externalizing behavior problems in youth. Development and Pathology, 17, 167–184. doi:10.1017/S095457940505009.Google Scholar
  38. Silver, R. B., Measelle, J. R., Armstrong, J. M., & Essex, M. J. (2005). Trajectories of classroom externalizing behavior: Contributions of child characteristics, family characteristics, and the teacher-child relationship during the school transition. Journal of School Psychology, 43, 39–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vancraeyveldt, C., Verschueren, K., Wouters, S., Van Craeyevelt, S., Van den Noortgate, W., & Colpin, H. (2015). Improving teacher-child relationship quality and teacher-rated behavioral adjustment among externalizing preschoolers: Effects of a two-component intervention. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 243–257. doi:10.1007/s10802-014-9892-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Vermeer, H. J., & Van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2006). Children’s elevated cortisol levels at childcare: A review and meta-analysis. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 560, 390–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Visser, S.N., Danielson, M.L., Bitsko, R.H., Holbrook, J.R., Kogan, M.D., Ghandour, R.M., …Cuffe, S.P. (2014). Treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder among children with special health care needs. The Journal of Pediatrics, 166, 1423-1430. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.02.018
  42. Watamura, S. E., Kryzer, E. M., & Robertson, S. S. (2009). Cortisol patterns at home and child care: Afternoon differences and evening recovery in children attending very high quality full-day center-based child care. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 475–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Watamura, S. E., Coe, C. L., Laundenslager, M. L., & Robertson, S. S. (2010). Child care setting affects salivary cortisol and antibody secretion in young children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 35, 1156–1166.Google Scholar
  44. Williford, A. P., Maier, M. F., Downer, J. T., Pianta, R. C., & Howes, C. (2013a). Understanding how children’s engagement and teachers’ interactions combine to predict school readiness. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34, 299–309. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2013.05.002.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. Williford, A. P., Whittaker, J. E. V., Vitiello, V. E., & Downer, J. T. (2013b). Children’s engagement within the preschool classroom and their development of self-regulation. Early Education and Development, 24, 162–187. doi:10.1080/10409289.2011.628270.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Williford, A.P., LoCasale-Crouch, J., Whittaker, J.V., DeCoster, J., Hartz, K.A., Carter, L.M., Wolcott, C.S. & Hatfield, B.E. (in press). Changing teacher-child dyadic interactions to improve preschool children’s externalizing behaviors. Child Development Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Public Health and Human Sciences, School of Social and Behavioral Health SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and LearningUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations