Maternal Responsiveness Moderates the Relationship between Allostatic Load and Working Memory

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Claremont McKenna College, Psychology (CMC)

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A substantial amount of research has demonstrated the deleterious effects of chronic stress on memory. However, much less is known about protective factors. In the current study we test the role of maternal responsiveness in buffering the effects of childhood allostatic load on subsequent adolescent working memory. Allostatic load is a marker of cumulative stress on the body that is caused by mobilization of multiple physiological systems in response to chronic environmental demands. Results of the study suggest that allostatic load negatively affects working memory, but that this effect is significantly attenuated in children with responsive mothers.

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© 2011 Cambridge University Press

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