Offspring of depressed parents are six times more likely to develop depression themselves (Downey & Coyne, 1990). The HPA axis is responsible for regulating reactions to stress. Dysfunctions of the HPA axis have been associated with several psychological disorders, including major depressive disorder(MDD), immune system impairment, and cardiovascular disease. Research examining HPA activity in offspring of mothers with
depression has yielded inconclusive results and few studies have examined both basal and reactive cortisol levels.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Maternal Depression and the Effects on Offspring’s Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis.
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