The Relation Between Temperament and Accumulated Cortisol Levels Among Toddlers Following Childcare Use

영아의 기질과 누적 코티솔 수준의 관계: 어린이집 이용 여부에 따른 차이

  • Song, Ji-Na (Department of Child Development and Family Studies, Seoul National University) ;
  • Yi, Soon-Hyung (Department of Child Development and Family Studies, Seoul National University)
  • 송지나 (서울대학교 아동가족학과) ;
  • 이순형 (서울대학교 아동가족학과)
  • Received : 2016.01.19
  • Accepted : 2016.05.30
  • Published : 2016.06.30


Objective: This study aimed to examine the difference in toddlers' accumulated cortisol levels based on childcare experience in toddlerhood and the relationship between temperament and accumulated cortisol levels. Methods: Hair sample were collected for measure accumulated cortisol level in 87 toddlers. The Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire (ECBQ) was used to measure temperament. Results: First, toddlers in childcare showed higher accumulated cortisol levels than in-home toddlers. Second, toddlers in childcare, exhibited a significant correlation between accumulated cortisol levels and surgency. Third, the accumulated cortisol levels of in-home toddlers exhibited a significant correlation with negative affect. In this research, there was significant range in the accumulated cortisol level according to childcare use, and the factors related to accumulated cortisol levels were different in each context. Conclusion: The results of this research support the "susceptibility to context of HPA axis" and imply a needed discussion about the effect of childcare experiences in toddlerhood.


Grant : BK21플러스

Supported by : 서울대학교


  1. Ahnert, L., Gunnar, M. R., Lamb, M. E., & Barthel, M. (2004). Transition to child care: Associations with infant-mother attachment, infant negative emotion, and cortisol elevations. Child Development, 75(3), 639-650. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00698.x
  2. Belsky, J. (1997). Theory testing, effect-size evaluation, and differential susceptibility to rearing influence: The case of mothering and attachment. Child Development, 68(4), 598-600. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1997.tb04221.x
  3. Boyce, W. T., & Ellis, B. J. (2005). Biological sensitivity to context: I. An evolutionary-developmental theory of the origins and functions of stress reactivity. Development and Psychopathology, 17(2), 271-301. doi:10.1017/S0954579405050145
  4. Cacioppo, J. T. (1994). Social neuroscience: Autonomic, neuroendocrine, and immune responses to stress. Psychophysiology, 31(2), 113-128. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.1994.tb01032.x
  5. Chrousos, G. P. (2009). Stress and disorders of the stress system. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 5(7), 374-381. doi:10.1038/nrendo.2009.106
  6. Chrousos, G. P., & Kino, T. (2007). Glucocorticoid action networks and complex psychiatric and/or somatic disorders. Stress, 10(2), 213-219. doi:10.1080/10253890701292119
  7. Chrousos, G. P., Loriaux, D. L., & Gold, P. W. (2013). Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology: Vol. 245. Mechanisms of physical and emotional stress. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
  8. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1980). Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective well-being: Happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38(4), 668-678. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.38.4.668
  9. de Kloet, E. R., Oitzl, M. S., & Joels, M. (1999). Stress and cognition: Are corticosteroids good or bad guys?. Trends in Neurosciences, 22(10), 422-426. doi:10.1016/S0166-2236(99)01438-1
  10. de Weerth, C., Zijl, R. H., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2003). Development of cortisol circadian rhythm in infancy. Early Human Development, 73(1), 39-52. doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(03)00074-4
  11. Dettling, A. C., Gunnar, M. R., & Donzella, B. (1999). Cortisol levels of young children in full-day childcare centers: Relations with age and temperament. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 24(5), 519-536. doi:10.1016/S0306-4530(99)00009-8
  12. Dettling, A. C., Parker, S. W., Lane, S., Sebanc, A., & Gunnar, M. R. (2000). Quality of care and temperament determine changes in cortisol concentrations over the day for young children in childcare. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 25(8), 819-836. doi:10.1016/S0306-4530(00)00028-7
  13. Ellis, B. J., Boyce, W. T., Belsky, J., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2011). Differential susceptibility to the environment: An evolutionary-neurodevelopmental theory. Development and Psychopathology, 23(1), 7-28. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000611
  14. Else-Quest, N. M., Hyde, J. S., Goldsmith, H. H., & van Hulle, C. A. (2006). Gender differences in temperament: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 132(1), 33-72. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.132.1.33
  15. Evans, D. E., & Rothbart, M. K. (2007). Developing a model for adult temperament. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(4), 868-888. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.11.002
  16. Fortunato, C. K., Dribin, A. E., Granger, D. A., & Buss, K. A. (2008). Salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol in toddlers:Differential relations to affective behavior. Developmental Psychobiology, 50(8), 807-818. doi:10.1002/dev.20326
  17. Gao, W., Xie, Q., Jin, J., Qiao, T., Wang, H., Chen, L., ... Lu, Z. (2010). HPLC-FLU detection of cortisol distribution in human hair. Clinical Biochemistry, 43(7), 677-682. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2010.01.014
  18. Goossens, F. A., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (1990). Quality of infants' attachments to professional caregivers: Relation to infant-parent attachment and day-care characteristics. Child Development, 61(3), 832-837. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb02825.x
  19. Gunnar, M. R. (1990). The psychobiology of infant temperament. In J. Colombo & J. Fagen (Eds.), Individual differences in infancy: Reliability, stability, prediction (pp. 387-409). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  20. Gunnar, M. R., Brodersen, L., Krueger, K., & Rigatuso, J. (1996). Dampening of adrenocortical responses during infancy: Normative changes and individual differences. Child Development, 67(3), 877-889. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01770.x
  21. Gunnar, M. R., & Donzella, B. (2002). Social regulation of the cortisol levels in early human development. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27(1-2), 199-220. doi:10.1016/S0306-4530(01)00045-2
  22. Gunnar, M. R., Tout, K., de Haan, M., Pierce, S., & Stanbury, K. (1997). Temperament, social competence, and adrenocortical activity in preschoolers. Developmental Psychobiology, 31(1), 65-85. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-2302(199707)31:1<65::AIDDEV6>3.0.CO;2-S<65::AID-DEV6>3.0.CO;2-S
  23. Kagan, J., Reznick, J. S., & Snidman, N. (1987). The physiology and psychology of behavioral inhibition in children. Child Development, 58(6), 1459-1473. doi:10.2307/1130685
  24. Kertes, D. A. (2005). Parent emotional availability and child temperament predict adrenocortical response to stress in young children (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Minnesota, USA.
  25. Kirschbaum, C., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1989). Salivary cortisol in psychobiological research: An overview. Neuropsychobiology, 22(3), 150-169. doi:10.1159/000118611
  26. Kochanska, G., Murray, K. T., & Harlan, E. T. (2000). Effortful control in early childhood: Continuity and change, antecedents, and implications for social development. Developmental Psychology, 36(2), 220-232. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.36.2.220
  27. Lewis, M., & Ramsay, D. S. (1995). Developmental change in infants' responses to stress. Child Development, 66(3), 657-670. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00896.x
  28. Lundberg, U., Westermark, O., & Rasch, B. (1993). Cardiovascular and neuroendocrine activity in preschool children:Comparison between day-care and home levels. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 34(4), 371-378. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.1993.tb01133.x
  29. Lupien, S. J., & McEwen, B. S. (1997). The acute effects of corticosteroids on cognition: Integration of animal and human model studies. Brain Research Reviews, 24(1), 1-27. doi:10.1016/S0165-0173(97)00004-0
  30. Nachmias, M., Gunnar, M., Mangelsdorf, S., Parritz, R. H., & Buss, K. (1996). Behavioral inhibition and stress reactivity: The moderating role of attachment security. Child Development, 67(2), 508-522. doi:10.2307/1131829
  31. Pragst, F., & Balikova, M. A. (2006). State of the art in hair analysis for detection of drug and alcohol abuse. Clinica Chimica Acta, 370(1-2), 17-49. doi:10.1016/j.cca.2006.02.019
  32. Price, D. A., Close, G. C., & Fielding, B. A. (1983). Age of appearance of circadian rhythm in salivary cortisol values in infancy. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 58(6), 454-456. doi:10.1136/adc.58.6.454
  33. Putnam, S. P., Jacobs, J. F., Gartstein, M. A., & Rothbart, M. K. (2010). Development and assessment of short and very short forms of the Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire. Paper presented at the International Conference of Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD.
  34. Rothbart, M. K. (2012). Advances in temperament: History, concepts, and measures. In M. Zentner & R. L. Shiner (Eds.), Handbook of Temperament (pp. 3-20). New York: The Guilford Press.
  35. Rothbart, M. K., & Derryberry, D. (1981). Development of individual differences in temperament. In M. E. Lamb & A. L. Brown (Eds.), Advances in developmental psychology (Vol. 1). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  36. Russell, E., Koren, G., Rieder, M., & van Uum, S. (2012). Hair cortisol as a biological marker of chronic stress: Current status, future directions and unanswered questions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(5), 589-601. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.09.009
  37. Slominski, R., Rovnaghi, C. R., & Anand, K. J. S. (2015). Methodological considerations for hair cortisol measurements in children. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, 37(6), 812-820. doi:10.1097/FTD.0000000000000209
  38. Talge, N. M., Donzella, B., & Gunnar, M. R. (2008). Fearful temperament and stress reactivity among preschool-aged children. Infant & Child Development, 17(4), 427-445. doi:10.1002/icd.585
  39. Vaghri, Z., Guhn, M., Weinberg, J., Grunau, R. E., Yu, W., & Hertzman, C. (2013). Hair cortisol reflects socio-economic factors and hair zinc in preschoolers. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(3), 331-340. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.06.009
  40. Vanaelst, B., de Vriendt, T., Huybrechts, I., Rinaldi, S., & de Henauw, S. (2012). Epidemiological approaches to measure childhood stress. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 26(3), 280-297. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3016.2012.01258.x
  41. Watamura, S. E., Donzella, B., Alwin, J., & Gunnar, M. R. (2003). Morning-to-afternoon increases in cortisol concentrations for infants and toddlers at child care: Age differences and behavioral correlates. Child Development, 74(4), 1006-1020. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00583
  42. Watamura, S. E., Sebanc, A. M., & Gunnar, M. R. (2002). Rising cortisol at childcare: Relations with nap, rest, and temperament. Developmental Psychobiology, 40(1), 33-42. doi:10.1002/dev.10011
  43. Wennig, R. (2000). Potential problems with the interpretation of hair analysis results. Forensic Science International, 107(1), 5-12. doi:10.1016/S0379-0738(99)00146-2
  44. Yamada, J., Stevens, B., de Silva, N., Gibbins, S., Beyene, J., Taddio, A., ... Koren, G. (2007). Hair cortisol as a potential biologic marker of chronic stress in hospitalized neonates. Neonatology, 92(1), 42-49. doi:10.1159/000100085
  45. Choi, Y. K., Lee, Y. J., Kim, S. H., & Na, J. H. (2012). A study on child care center usage time on perspective of child development: Focusing on investigating stress hormone (Research Report No. 2012-09). Seoul: Korea Institution of Child Care and Education. Retrieved from
  46. Kim, J. M. & Yi, S. (2014). The effects of preschoolers' temperament on their emotion regulation in different situations. Korean Journal of Human Ecology, 23(2), 193-204. doi:10.5934/kjhe.2014.23.2.193
  47. Ministry of Health and Welfare. (2005). 2004 child care statistics. Retrieved from
  48. Ministry of Health and Welfare. (2015). 2014 child care statistics. Retrieved from