This study examined the association between prenatal tobacco exposure (PTE) and infant cortisol reactivity at 9 months of infant age. Child sex and maternal parenting behavior were hypothesized moderators. The sample included 217 (148 tobacco-exposed, 69 non-exposed) mother-child dyads. Data used were obtained from pregnancy assessments, mother-infant feeding interactions at 2 months, and salivary cortisol at four time points in response to frustration at 9 months. Results indicated a significant association between PTE and infant cortisol that was moderated by infant sex and maternal intrusiveness. That is, PTE boys had lower cortisol than control boys, but there was no association between PTE and cortisol among girls. There was a significant association between PTE and cortisol among infants of intrusive mothers, but not among infants with non-intrusive mothers. Thus, PTE was associated with cortisol hypo-reactivity such that boys and non-exposed infants experiencing high maternal intrusiveness were at greater risk.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Developmental Biology
- Behavioral Neuroscience