Intervening to Enhance Cortisol Regulation Among Children at Risk for Neglect: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial




Kristin Bernard, Mary Dozier, Johanna Bick, and M. Kathleen Gordon

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC)


The hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis is particularly sensitive to conditions of maltreatment. In particular, neglected children have shown a flatter slope with lower wake-up values relative to non-neglected children. An intervention, the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC), was developed to enhance biological and behavioral regulation in young children at risk for neglect. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed in a randomized clinical trial for children with involvement with Child Protective Services. Following the intervention, children receiving the ABC intervention (n=49) showed more typical cortisol production, with higher wake-up cortisol values and a steeper diurnal slope, than children receiving the control intervention (n=51). These results suggest that the ABC intervention is effective in enhancing biological regulation. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Bernard, K., Dozier, M., Bick, J., & Gordon, M. K. (2015). Intervening to enhance cortisol regulation among children at risk for neglect: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 829–841. doi:10.1017/S095457941400073X
Author Contact Information:
Kristin Bernard


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes