Chapter

The Developmental Psychobiology of Stress and Emotion in Childhood

Developmental Psychology

II. INFANCY AND EARLY CHILDHOOD

  1. Camelia E. Hostinar1,
  2. Megan R. Gunnar2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop206005

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Hostinar, C. E. and Gunnar, M. R. 2012. The Developmental Psychobiology of Stress and Emotion in Childhood. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 6:II:5.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

  2. 2

    University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

Abstract

Under what conditions does stress exposure in childhood induce vulnerability, and when does it promote resilience? In this chapter we review what is known about the developmental psychobiology of stress systems, aiming to articulate the current state of our knowledge on this question. We review the anatomy and physiology of stress systems and some of their complex interconnections, followed by a discussion of what is known about the ontogeny of these systems and the way individual differences in their activity might emerge. We review studies of stress reactivity and regulation during each major developmental period between prenatal life and adolescence. Then we discuss findings related to temperamental, genetic, and caregiving factors that may underlie individual differences in stress reactivity. We conclude with some thoughts about the need for basic research examining the development of stress systems at multiple levels of analysis, hopefully informing a comprehensive, biologically plausible model of stress and emotion across the lifespan.

Keywords:

  • stress psychobiology;
  • emotion;
  • childhood