Hair cortisol concentrations predict change in girls’ depressive symptoms

Andrea Sandstrom, Andrew R. Daoust, Evan Russell, Gideon Koren, Elizabeth P. Hayden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis activity is related to negative mental health outcomes, including depression. Most developmental research uses salivary cortisol to index HPA activity; however, hair cortisol concentrations (HCCs) reflect cortisol production over extended periods of time. While HCCs have been linked to adult depression, their relationship to the development of children’s depressive symptoms is unclear. We assessed HCCs in 60 seven-year-old community-dwelling girls who were followed up one year later. In broader models, girls’ age 7 HCCs were positively associated with age 8 depressive symptoms at a trend level, indicating that HCCs may be related to mental health early in development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-198
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Hair cortisol
  • depression
  • development


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