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Revista chilena de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0370-4106


HAQUIN MACARI, Gia; GALLARDO TAPIA, Adriana; INIGUEZ, German  and  WEISSTAUB, Gerardo. Psychomotor development and cortisol salivary levels in infants that live with their inmate mothers. Rev. chil. pediatr. [online]. 2019, vol.90, n.3, pp.275-282. ISSN 0370-4106.


In Chile, the prison system has a program that allows inmate mothers to live with their children un der two years of age. This could imply that these children are more exposed to stress conditions and a higher psychomotor developmental delay (PDD) risk.


To compare the PDD and salivary cortisol concentrations (SCC) of children living in prison with their mothers and to compare the results with control children.

Subjects and Method:

Cross-sectional study in 42 infants, 12 of them are children of inmate mothers in the penitentiary center (CPF) of Santiago, and 30 controls from a Primary Care Family Health Center (CESFAM). PDD of infants was assessed through the ASQ-3 questionnaire and salivary cortisol was measured in infants and mothers using radioimmunoassay.


The median salivary cortisol level of the children of CPF and CESFAM mothers was 2.3 ng/ ml (IQR 1.1 to 2.7) and 2.1 ng/ml (IQR 1.6 to 2, 9) respectively. Maternal cortisol was 4.6 ng/ml (IQR 3.8 to 7.3) in the CPF and 3.7 ng/ml (IQR 2.4 to 4.7) in the CESFAM. The PDD deficit was 2.3% and 28.5% for children from the CPF and the CESFAM respectively, without statistical difference (p = 0.06).


There was no difference in the PDD and salivary cortisol between children of both groups.

Keywords : Psychomotor development; stress; infants; cortisol; saliva; penitentiary center; family health center.

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