Abstract and Keywords
Stress is a normal component of life, yet individuals differ markedly in the frequency with which they experience stressful life events and their vulnerability or resilience in the face of these challenges. We approach the study of stress and development from a psychobiological perspective, emphasizing the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system. We describe the anatomy and physiology of the HPA system and its relations with other neurobiological systems that process information about stressors and regulate behavioral and physiological responses. This review also covers psychological and evolutionary perspectives on stress, as well as the human literature on stress reactivity and regulation in typically developing children, children with behavioral and emotional problems, and children exposed to significant adversity early in life.
Keywords: development, children, stress, coping, resilience, cortisol, stress reactivity, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, corticotropin-releasing hormone, early adversity, adrenocorticotropic hormone, cortico-limbic pathways, circadian rhythm, neuroendocrine
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