Chronic stress can have a serious impact on our physical as well as psychological health due to sustained high levels of the chemicals released in the ‘fight or flight’ response.

In abused children has been noticed a dysregulation of the "Hypothalamic - Pituitary - Adrenal" axis and particularly anomalous levels of Cortisol (Hart, et al., 1995).

Cicchetti and Rogosch hypothesize that the reduced activity of the HPA axis may have an adaptive role cause it protects against the consequences of a chronic hypercortisolism (Cicchetti, et al., 2010).

They also suggest this alteration to have effects on social skills?

Are there any research about it?


Cicchetti, D., Rogosch, F. A., Howe, M. L., & Toth, S. L. (2010). The Effects of Maltreatment and Neuroendocrine Regulation on Memory Performance. Child Development, 81(5), 1504–1519.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01488.x PMCID: PMC2941227

Hart, J., Gunnar, M., & Cicchetti, D. (1995). Salivary cortisol in maltreated children: Evidence of relations between neuroendocrine activity and social competence. Development and Psychopathology, 7(1), 11-26.
DOI: 10.1017/S0954579400006313

  • $\begingroup$ Do I understand correctly that the articles you cite only describe short-term effects, and that you in particular are interested to know whether these (and others) occur over longer periods of time? What time frame do the studies you cite report on? What duration did you have in mind? $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Aug 23 '17 at 7:29

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