Cortisol reactivity and recovery in the context of adolescent personality disorder

Jennifer L. Tackett*, Shauna C. Kushner, Robert A. Josephs, K. Paige Harden, Elizabeth Page-Gould, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The present study examined whether the associations between stress responses and psychopathology were moderated by adolescent personality disorder (PD) traits. Participants were a community sample of 106 adolescents (47 male, M,. = 16.01) and their parents. Parents reported on adolescents' PD traits and behavioral problems. Changes in salivary Cortisol were assessed in response to a laboratory-based stress induction. Moderated regression analyses revealed significant linear and quadratic interactions between Cortisol recovery and PD traits in the prediction of behavioral problems. Although typically conceptualized as "adaptive," steeper post-stressor recovery was associated with more behavioral problems when PD traits were high. These findings suggest that, in the presence of maladaptive personality traits, premature recovery from environmental stressors may indicate an inability to respond appropriately to negative environmental stimuli, thus reflecting a core disturbance in PD trait functioning. The results underscore the informative role that personality plays in illuminating the nature of hormone functioning in adolescents and are interpreted in a developmental psychopathology framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-39
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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