Influence of treatment for disruptive behavior disorders on adrenal and gonadal hormones in youth

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2011;40(4):562-71. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2011.581614.


The study examined whether psychosocial intervention for children diagnosed with a disruptive behavior disorder (DBD; n = 84) changed concentrations of cortisol and testosterone across a 3-year follow-up when compared to a matched, nonclinical, healthy comparison (HC; n = 69) group. Boys and girls (6-11 years) with a DBD were randomly assigned to one of two arms of a multimethod intervention. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that children undergoing psychosocial intervention for a DBD experienced a significant decline in diurnal cortisol change over time (p < .05) when compared to the HC condition. Boys with a DBD diagnosis had significantly lower mean cortisol concentrations prior to treatment (p < .05) and showed a significantly steeper increase in mean cortisol over time (p < .05) when compared to HC boys. Treatment effects for diurnal cortisol change were replicated in the boys-only analysis. No treatment effects were noted for testosterone in either analysis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / blood
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / physiopathology
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Testosterone / analysis*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone