Objective: The aims of the present study were to test the association between current anxiety problems and basal cortisol levels in a large population sample of young preadolescents, and to test if HPA-axis activity differs between individuals with no, only current, or persistent anxiety problems. Method: Cortisol levels of 10- to 12-year olds (n = 1768) from the general population were measured on three time points during the day. A self-report questionnaire (RCADS) was used to assess current anxiety, a parent-report questionnaire (TPBQ) to assess anxiety problems at age 4. Results: Associations between cortisol levels and current anxiety problems were not found. However, individuals with persistent anxiety problems had higher morning cortisol levels and a higher cortisol awakening response. Conclusion: Apparently, only persistent, and not current, anxiety problems are associated with higher HPA-axis activity. Alterations in HPA-axis activity might underlie persistent anxiety problems, or result from the stress accompanied by persistent anxiety problems.

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doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01001.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/35303
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Greaves-Lord, K., Ferdinand, R., Oldehinkel, A., Sondeijker, F., Ormel, J. H., & Verhulst, F. (2007). Higher cortisol awakening response in young adolescents with persistent anxiety problems. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 116(2), 137–144. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01001.x