The ARCH Lab has recently published a paper, titled “Hair Cortisol and Health-Related Quality of Life in Children with Mental Disorder”. While it is established that children living with mental disorder are at risk for lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) compared to their peers, and evidence suggests that cortisol dysregulation is implicated in the onset of mental disorder, the extent to which cortisol is associated with HRQoL is largely unknown.
The purpose of the paper was to examine whether the presence of a comorbid physical illness moderated the association between hair cortisol concentration (HCC) and HRQoL among children with mental disorder.
One-hundred children (4-17 years) receiving care from a pediatric hospital were recruited. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview was used to measure mental disorder and the KIDSCREEN-27 to assess HRQoL. Cortisol extracted from children’s hair was assayed using high-sensitivity ELISA. Multiple regression analyses tested the association between HCC and HRQoL.
The authors concluded that the association between HCC and HRQoL in children with mental disorder is moderated by the presence of a physical illness, such that in children with comorbid physical and mental disorder, elevated HCC is associated with lower HRQoL. Approaches that reduce stress in these children may help promote optimal well-being.