Stress and the developing adolescent brain

L. Eiland, R. D. Romeo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

310 Scopus citations


Adolescence is a time of continued brain maturation, particularly in limbic and cortical regions, which undoubtedly plays a role in the physiological and emotional changes coincident with adolescence. An emerging line of research has indicated that stressors experienced during this crucial developmental stage may affect the trajectory of this neural maturation and contribute to the increase in psychological morbidities, such as anxiety and depression, often observed during adolescence. In this review, we discuss the short- and long-term effects of periadolescent stress exposure on the structure and function of the brain. More specifically, we examine how stress at prepubertal and early adolescent stages of development affects the morphological plasticity of limbic and cortical brain regions, as well as the enduring effects of adolescent stress exposure on these brain regions in adulthood. We suggest that, due to a number of converging factors during this period of maturation, the adolescent brain may be particularly sensitive to stress-induced neurobehavioral dysfunctions with important consequences on an individual's immediate and long-term health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-171
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • HPA axis
  • Puberty
  • Stress


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