Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

Higher cortisol is associated with poorer executive functioning in preschool children: The role of parenting stress, parent coping and quality of daycare

Share
Description:
Child executive functions (cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, working memory) are key to success in school. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, is known to affect cognition; however, there is limited information about how child cortisol levels, parenting factors and child care context relate to executive functions in young children. The aim of this study was to examine relationships between child cortisol, parenting stress, parent coping, and daycare quality in relation to executive functions in children aged 3-5 years. We hypothesized that (1) poorer executive functioning would be related to higher child cortisol and higher parenting stress, and (2) positive daycare quality and positive parent coping style would buffer the effects of child cortisol and parenting stress on executive functions. A total of 101 children (53 girls, 48 boys, mean age 4.24 years [plus or minus] 0.74) with complete data on all measures were included. Three saliva samples to measure cortisol were collected at the child's daycare/preschool in one morning. Parents completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Preschool Version (BRIEF-P), Parenting Stress Index (PSI), and Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WCQ). The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised (ECERS-R) was used to measure the quality of daycare. It was found that children with poorer executive functioning had higher levels of salivary cortisol, and their parents reported higher parenting stress. However, parent coping style and quality of daycare did not modulate these relationships. Identifying ways to promote child executive functioning is an important direction for improving school readiness. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
Country:
Canada

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection.

Preparing centers and a literacy-rich environment for small-group instruction in Early Reading First preschools

Other

Evaluation: Practical applications for closing achievement gaps

Other

Why families should matter for Early Reading First

Other

Assessing and creating effective preschool literacy classroom environments

Other
Release: 'v1.24.0' | Built: 2023-01-23 14:56:35 EST