Parenting Stress Ups Cortisol

Daily Stress and Cortisol Patterns in Parents of Adult Children With a Serious Mental Illness Parents caring long-term for a child with a serious mental illness have increased cortisol levels.
C Bowden: The responsibility of caring for a person with a serious mental illness (SMI) can be very stressful. This study examined salivary cortisol levels in parents with and without an adult child with an SMI and found that cortisol patterns in parents of adult children with bipolar disorder, major depression, or schizophrenia were impaired, particularly on stressful days. These cortisol changes provide evidence of physiological alterations caused by stress on parents who care for adult children with SMIs. Clinicians should adequately monitor and counsel these parents on ways to reduce or better manage daily stress.


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