Cortisol Release in Infants in Response to Inoculation

Michael Lewis, David Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Using a cross‐sectional design, salivary cortisol was obtained from infants aged 2, 4, and 6 months, prior to and 15 min following an inoculation. Cortisol rose significantly following inoculation. Behavioral responses to inoculation were consistent with the observed patterns of cortisol release. Cortisol base level was significantly and negatively related to the cortisol change score. At 6 months the basal levels also were influenced by an adult‐like circadian rhythm; infants tested shortly after awakening had higher basal levels than those tested later in the day. These data provide strong evidence that studies of stress and cortisol release in infants must be sensitive to basal level, circadian rhythm, and behavioral effects, and that appropriate statistical procedures should be employed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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