Dr. Ferro published a paper titled “Hair cortisol concentration mediates the association between parent and child psychopathology” that examined the role of hair cortisol concentration (HCC) in the association between parent psychopathology and child mental disorder. This research is important as there is a strong association between parent and child mental health. This study aimed to determine if the association is transmitted through disruption to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in children.
Participants included children diagnosed with a mental disorder and their parents. Results found that HCC does mediate the association between symptoms of parent psychopathology and major depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity. Specific sex differences were also observed. Mediating effects for generalized anxiety and opposition defiant were evident for boys only. Therefore, opportunities to reduce stress in children and families who have parents with psychopathology are critical and should remain a priority for health providers. Further research that considers sex effects is needed to clarify how HCC conditions risk for mental disorder in children.