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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020361

A Pilot Study of Stress System Activation in Children Enrolled in a Targeted Prevention Program: Implications for Personalization

1
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, N412 Elliot Hall, 75 E. River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
2
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2400 Hartford Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
3
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, 250 Educational Sciences Bldg, 56 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, F282/2A West Building 2450, Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
5
Department of Family Social Sciences, University of Minnesota, 290 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract

Empirically validated interventions addressing childhood psychological problems are now readily available, but success likely depends in part on accurately identifying which children will benefit from which intervention. This pilot study examined the stress activation and response system, first as a way to differentiate high versus low-risk children, and second to explore indicators of the stress system associated with favorable intervention response. Method. Participants (N = 43, 58% male) were school-aged children who qualified for inclusion in the Early Risers “Skills for Success” Prevention Program based on their elevated levels of aggressive and/or socially withdrawn behavior and a normally developing comparison group. Compared to the normally developing group, children who were participants in the intervention exhibited a more blunted cortisol response to the stress paradigm. However, for the children in the intervention group, elevated cortisol levels at the start of the stress paradigm were concurrently associated with internalizing problems and predictive of improvement in internalizing problems over time. These findings provide preliminary evidence that hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis biological variables may be helpful tools for identifying children who would benefit from intervention and personalizing interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: children; prevention; intervention; cortisol; HPA axis; personalization children; prevention; intervention; cortisol; HPA axis; personalization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Klimes-Dougan, B.; Klingbeil, D.A.; Houri, A.; Cullen, K.R.; Gunlicks-Stoessel, M.; August, G. A Pilot Study of Stress System Activation in Children Enrolled in a Targeted Prevention Program: Implications for Personalization. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 361.

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