Attachment Strategies and Neuroendocrine Biomarkers in Obese Children

Authors

  • Inês Pinto Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hospital Beatriz Ângelo. Loures. Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Faculty of Medicine. University of Porto. Porto. Hospital Dona Estefânea. Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Central. Lisboa.
  • Simon Wilkinson Adolescent Psychiatric Section. Lørenskog University Hospital. Oslo. Department of Research and Development. Division of Mental Health. Akershus University Hospital. Oslo.
  • Daniel Virella Epidemiology and Statistics Office of the Research Unit. Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Lisboa.
  • Marta Alves Epidemiology and Statistics Office of the Research Unit. Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Lisboa.
  • Conceição Calhau Nutrição e Metabolismo. Nova Medical School. Faculdade de Ciências Médicas. Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Lisboa. Center for Research in Health Technologies and Information Systems (CINTESIS). University of Porto. Porto.
  • Rui Coelho Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health. Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto. Porto. Institute for Research and Innovation inHealth (i3S). University of Porto. Porto.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.6826

Keywords:

Child, Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System, Object Attachment, Pediatric Obesity, Pituitary-Adrenal System, Stress, Psychological, Thyrotropin.

Abstract

Introduction: Quality of the parent-infant relationship influences the mechanisms of development of the child’s physiological stress regulation. This study explored associations between attachment strategies and both cortisol and thyroid stimulating hormone, hypothesized to be respectively a potential mediator and a potential intervening variable of the mother-child relationship in obese children.
Material and Methods: A sample of 83 obese children (46 boys), aged 10.9 (1.8) years was recruited from a child obesity clinic. Obesity was defined by body mass index percentile adjusted for age and sex. Metabolic biomarkers were measured by routine methods. Attachment strategies were assessed with self and parent-report questionnaires. Family functioning was assessed with parent-reported questionnaires (FACES-III). Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed.
Results: Type A, avoidant attachment strategies, had significant positive association with thyroid stimulating hormone levels and negative association with cortisol levels (R2 = 0.352). Type B, secure attachment strategies, had significant positive associations with both hypothyroidism and body mass index percentile (R2 = 0.541). “Insecure attachment” (types A and C combined) strategies showed some evidence of positive association with thyroid stimulating hormone (R2 = 0.250).
Discussion: These findings suggest that there may be commonalities in the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axes. Processes involved in development of the type A attachment strategy appear to be associated with effects on the regulatory mechanisms of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Conclusions: In obese children, different attachment strategies are associated with diverse metabolic profiles. How this may contribute to developing differentiated treatment approaches remains to be explored.

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Published

2016-05-31

How to Cite

1.
Pinto I, Wilkinson S, Virella D, Alves M, Calhau C, Coelho R. Attachment Strategies and Neuroendocrine Biomarkers in Obese Children. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2016 May 31 [cited 2023 Feb. 7];29(5):332-9. Available from: https://www.actamedicaportuguesa.com/revista/index.php/amp/article/view/6826

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Original