Cortisol Activity and Sexual Abuse

  • Noll, Jennie G. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This application is a revision of application R03 HD045346 to analyze data from a 16-year longitudinal study of the effects of childhood sexual abuse on female development. The proposed study would examine more closely Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation and allostatic overload, via cortisol concentration and reactivity data, for sexually abused and comparison subjects collected at six time-points over several distinct developmental stages (childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood). The unique design of the parent study will allow for the evaluation of shortfalls present in extant cortisol activity literature. Specifically, the proposed study can help sort out confusion stemming from methodological issues, differential links to various psychopathology and personality characteristics, and a lack of focus on extrahypothalamic systems which may be involved HPA axis dysregulation. The Aims are: 1) To provide further evidence that the trauma of childhood sexual abuse results in HPA axis dysregulation in the acute phase and over the long-term. 2) To provide further evidence that HPA axis dysregulation is related to maladjustment concurrently and across time. 3) To explore differential developmental pathways to and from dysregulation. 4) To provide information about which methodological approaches result in maximal discrimination across abused and comparison groups. 5) To provide a comprehensive evaluation of the effect of extrahypothalamic CRH regulated behaviors on cortisol concentrations and reactivity.
Effective start/end date12/5/0411/30/05


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