Objective. To examine whether parental overprotection contributes to the development of functional somatic symptoms (FSS) in young adolescents. In addition, we aimed to study whether this potential effect of parental overprotection is mediated by parenting distress and/or moderated by the adolescent's sex. Study design. FSS were measured in 2230 adolescents (ages 10 to 12 years from the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey) by the Somatic Complaints subscale of the Youth Self Report at baseline and at follow-up 2(1/2) years later. Parental overprotection as perceived by the child was assessed by means of the EMBU-C (Swedish acronym for my memories of upbringing-child version). Parents completed the Parenting Stress Index. Linear regression analyses were performed adjusted for FSS at baseline and sex. Results. Parental overprotection was a predictor of the development of FSS in young adolescents (beta = 0.055, P < .01). Stratified analyses revealed that maternal overprotection was a predictor of the development of FSS in girls (beta = 0.085, P < .02), whereas paternal overprotection was a predictor of the development of FSS in boys (beta = 0.072, P < .01). A small (5.7%) but significant mediating effect of maternal parenting stress in the relationship between parental overprotection and FSS was found. Conclusions. Parental overprotection may play a role in the development of FSS in young adolescents.
To examine whether HPA-axis activity mediates the relationship between obstetric complications (OCs) and externalizing behavior problems, and to investigate whether this model is different for boys and girls. In a population-based cohort of 1,768 10- to 12-year-old early adolescents, we assessed the cortisol awakening response and evening cortisol levels. Externalizing behavior problems were assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist and the Youth Self-Report. OCs were retrospectively assessed in a parent interview. OCs significantly predicted externalizing behavior problems, but OCs did not predict HPA-axis activity. Thus, the mediation model was not supported. In addition to the relationship between HPA-axis activity and externalizing behavior problems, which is specific for girls, there is also a relationship between OCs and externalizing behavior problems. However, these two mechanisms are not related to each other indicating that HPA-axis activity is not a mediator in the relationship between OCs and externalizing behavior problems. Future research should focus on understanding the mechanism through which OCs cause externalizing behavior problems.
Aims. We examined within a prospective longitudinal study whether cortisol levels were associated with smoking or drinking behaviors, taking parental substance use into account.
Design The influence of parental substance use on cortisol levels of their adolescent offspring at age 10-12 was examined. Next, cortisol levels of adolescents who initiated smoking or drinking at the first data collection (age 10-12) were compared to non-users. Finally, we examined whether cortisol levels could predict new onset and frequency of smoking and drinking two years later. Setting and participants. First and second assessment data of the TRacking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) were used, including 1,768 Dutch adolescents aged 10-12 years, who were followed up across a period of two years. Measurements. Cortisol was measured in saliva samples at awakening, 30 minutes later, and at 8 p.m. at age 10-12. Self-reported substance use at age 10-12 and 13-14, and parental self-reported substance use were used. Findings. Only maternal substance use was related to slightly lower adolescent cortisol levels at 8 p.m. Both maternal and paternal substance use were associated with adolescent smoking and drinking at age 13-14, although fathers’ use only predicted the amount used and not the chance of ever use. Finally, higher cortisol levels were moderately related to current smoking and future frequency of smoking, but not to alcohol use. Conclusions. In a general population, parental heavy substance use does not seem to consistently affect cortisol levels in their offspring. We found some evidence for higher, instead of lower, HPA axis activity as a predictor of smoking in early adolescence.
Background. Accumulating evidence suggests that there is a rich and varied interplay between persons and their environments, which strongly suggests that this involves gene-environment correlations and interactions. We investigated whether familial risk (FR) to externalizing problems and prenatal and perinatal risk factors, separately or in interaction with each other, predicted externalizing behaviors. Methods. The subjects were 10- to 12-year-old preadolescents who were taking part in TRAILS, a large prospective population-based cohort study (N=2230). Regression analyses were used to determine the relative contribution of FR and prenatal and perinatal risks to parent and teacher ratings of inattention, aggression, and delinquency. Results. Regression models explained between 6 and 11% of the variance of externalizing behaviors. We found main effects of FR (vs. no FR), macrosomia (birth weight >4500g), maternal prenatal smoking (MPS), pregnancy and delivery complications (PDCs), and gender that were rather consistent across rater and outcome measures. For some outcome measures, the effect of MPS and PDCs depended on the presence of FR. These included both positive and negative interaction effects. Correlations between FR and prenatal and perinatal risks were significant but rather low. Conclusions. Both main effects and interaction effects of FR and prenatal and perinatal risks contribute to externalizing behaviors in preadolescents, but all effects were of small size. Further research including use of candidate gene polymorphisms is necessary to identify the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of these main and interaction effects.
This study examined the possible risk-buffering and risk-enhancing role of family characteristics on the association between temperament and early adolescent externalizing and internalizing problems, adjusted for familial vulnerability for psychopathology and early childhood problem behavior. Furthermore, it was explored whether these* *effects were specific or conditional for either internalizing or externalizing problems, or more generic for psychopathology. Data on temperament (frustration and fearfulness) and family characteristics (overprotection, rejection, emotional warmth, and socio-economic status) came from a large longitudinal Dutch population sample of early adolescents (T2: /n/ = 2149; /M/ age = 13.55; 51.2% girls). Hypotheses on the direction and the specificity of the effects were derived from a goal framing approach. The findings indicate that family characteristics can either buffer or enhance the temperamental risk to develop psychopathology. Analyses on the direction of these effects resulted in a descriptive classification of domain-specific, conditional, and generic factors that promote or protect the development of psychopathology. Implications of the results are discussed and directions for future research are given.