Serum prolactin levels and behavior in infants

Betsy Lozoff*, Barbara T. Felt, Edward C. Nelson, Abraham W. Wolf, Herbert W. Meltzer, Elias Jimenez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between serum prolactin levels and behavior in infants and toddlers who experienced two potentially stressful experiences (developmental testing and venipuncture). Serum prolactin levels showed considerable consistency over a 3-month period (r = 0.64 between study entry and three months, p < 0.001, n = 50). There was also stability in having either a normal or a high value (≥ 25 ng/ml). Among children who had a normal value on initial testing, 97% also has a normal value after 3 months; 55% of those with initial high values continued to have high values (χ2 = 19.26, p < 0.001). Children with high serum prolactin levels were more likely to be rated as unusually hesitant and unhappy during developmental testing. Overall, 53% of the children with serum prolactin levels ≥ 25 ng/ml were considered abnormal in affect, compared to 20% of those with lower serum prolactin values (total n = 138, χ2 = 13.56, p < 0.001). These results suggest that, even in early life, serum prolactin levels may reflect characteristic individual behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-12
Number of pages9
JournalBiological psychiatry
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

Keywords

  • Prolactin
  • individual differences
  • infants
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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