Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Black, Sarah

Second Advisor

Harshaw, Christopher

Third Advisor

Kotelnikova, Yuliya


Irritability is an indicator and predictor of psychopathology, as well as a sign of acute and chronic stress. Cortisol reactivity (CR), a physiological index of psychological stress, is bidirectionally associated with and predictive of psychopathology. Research addressing irritability and CR together is limited. Participants were 156 children enrolled in a longitudinal study. At age three, saliva was collected in relation to a stressor task and parents reported on child psychopathology. Psychopathology reports were also completed for ages six, nine, and 12. Results showed CR to have a moderating effect on the association between irritability and psychopathology symptoms when sex was included as an additional moderator, indicating that this moderating effect occurred differently for males and females. These findings underscore the importance of considering both biological and psychological variables, as well as sex differences, in understanding future risk for psychopathology.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.