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Salivary Bioscience News

Adolescent appraisal of interparental conflict is reflected by stress reactivity

Adolescent conflict appraisals moderate the link between marital conflict and physiological stress reactivity

Author: Lucas-Thompson RG, et al. (2017), Journal of Research on Adolescence

The goal of this study was to advance understanding of how adolescent conflict appraisals contribute uniquely, and in combination with interparental conflict behavior, to individual differences in adolescent physiological reactivity. Saliva samples were collected from 153 adolescents (52% female; ages 10–17 years) before and after the Trier Social Stress Test. Saliva was assayed for cortisol and alpha-amylase. Results revealed interactive effects between marital conflict and conflict appraisals. For youth who appraised parental conflict negatively (particularly as threatening), negative marital conflict predicted dampened reactivity; for youth who appraised parental conflict less negatively, negative marital conflict predicted heightened reactivity. These findings support the notion that the family context and youth appraisals of family relationships are linked with individual differences in biological sensitivity to context.

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Keywords: Salivary cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase, stress, conflict

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