Prospects of studies on violence, adolescence and cortisol: A systematic literature review

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Violence has a negative impact on adolescents and affects their quality of life. It causes stress and requires the victim’s adaptive capacity, which can cause psychological and biological changes. Hormone cortisol levels have been used as stress biomarker in several studies. This paper aims to perform a systematic literature review of publications on cortisol and violence involving teenagers from 2000 to 2013. Descriptors "cortisol", "violence" and "adolescent" were used in both English and Portuguese in this review, which included bibliographic databases PubMed/Medline, Lilacs, BVS and SciELO. Twelve papers were analyzed. Most studies involve participants from the United States, of both genders and without a control group. Different types of violence are studied, especially family violence, victimization or testimony. All studies used saliva to measure cortisol and no standard methodology was used for the analysis. Most studies (83.3%) found a statistically significant association between cortisol levels and exposure to violence. Results regarding gender, type of violence, socioeconomic status or cortisol analysis methods are not yet uniform.

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Lugarinho, L. P., Avanci, J. Q., & Pinto, L. W. (2017). Prospects of studies on violence, adolescence and cortisol: A systematic literature review. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 22(4), 1321–1332.

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