Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Mexican American children have the highest rates of obesity in the U.S. Mexican American children may experience chronic stress, which has been linked to child obesity. Hair cortisol accumulation has been implicated as a mechanism for this association. Highly sensitive parenting may buffer the harmful effects of chronic stress and hair cortisol on obesity. Thus, the aims of this project were to 1) identify the direct and indirect effects of chronic stress and hair cortisol on children's zBMI and 2) examine the protective effects of parental warmth. This study examined hair cortisol levels, zBMI and chronic stress of children ages 6-10 from low-income Mexican-origin families. Parental warmth was assessed through video-taped family interactions and parent self-report. Chronic stress and hair cortisol levels were not associated, however, hair cortisol was positively related to child zBMI. Parental warmth moderated the relation between chronic stress and zBMI. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.